Symphony X

Isle of the Cross – Excelsis Review

Isle of the Cross – Excelsis Review

“I admire bands who chance their arm at cracking into peoples’ music rotation, especially where their intent is to chart a new path or weave existing genres in dynamic ways. Enter Jo Schneider and the band he leads called Isle of the Cross. Excelsis is their debut release and promised to be an “enigmatic journey of sonic power.” Enigmatic is the key word as I have been unsuccessful in my efforts to learn more about the band, including the country of origin. Further promoting itself as for fans of Opeth and Symphony X is a bold strategy indeed, so I turned to my first listen with great interest.” Excelsisore!

Obsidian Tide – Pillars of Creation [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Obsidian Tide – Pillars of Creation [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“I love TheKenWord, but the problem is, if you skip an hour on the AMG Slack channel, you’ll probably miss one of his 1462 album recommendations. Lucky for me, at the precise day and time when Kenny waxed on about Obsidian Tide’s new album I just happened to be lurking on the forums, and I caught the link. The young fella did himself proud with this recommendation. Obsidian Tide are an Israeli progressive metal trio, and Pillars of Creation is the band’s debut album, a seven-song, 55-minute concept album detailing a man’s journey to enlightenment.” Tides and tidings.

Eternity’s End – Unyielding [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Eternity’s End – Unyielding [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“I discovered Eternity’s End with the release of their debut The Fire Within back in 2016, and I was completely blown away by their thrashy brand of neoclassical progressive power metal. That record is certainly in my top 10 of the 2010s, and I was ecstatic when I heard a follow-up was imminent.” Eternity is now!

Noveria – Aequilibrium Review

Noveria – Aequilibrium Review

“Coupled with an overly dense production, Forsaken left a bad taste in my mouth, and my review was decidedly mixed, noting the issues above, while lamenting how good everything else was. Noveria is absolutely a talented band; they just made a series of misjudgments that I could not overlook and feverishly hoped they would not repeat. So it wasn’t without some hesitation I took up Aequilibrium. And let me tell you: there are few greater joys than the feeling that a band has taken your constructive criticism to heart.” Power with grace.

Dialith – Extinction Six Review and Album Premiere

Dialith – Extinction Six Review and Album Premiere

Extinction Six is the full-length debut of the symphonic power metal band Dialith. Hailing from Connecticut, I took interest in Dialith because good symphonic power metal is rare. And, frankly, good unsigned symphonic power metal is even rarer. Symphonic power has a high bar to reach a “passable” grade; one of the highest in metal. Symphonic bands putting out mediocre albums are filled with musicians who are orders of magnitude more talented than many of their counterparts. But in order to create great symphonic power record, everything must fit.” Does it all fit? Well, we’re debuting the thing, so I guess there’s not a lot of tension.

Parallel Minds – Every Hour Wounds… The Last One Kills Review

Parallel Minds – Every Hour Wounds… The Last One Kills Review

A quick glance at my bio will reveal that besides large helpings of bourbon, red meat, and snuggling, the quickest way to the Hol where my heart should reside is groove and thrash infused heavy/power metal. If asked to pack my metal suitcase for an involuntary extended stay upon a remote desert island, I would probably just quickly raid the discographies of Nevermore, Iced Earth, Theocracy, and Symphony X and call it good. So, anytime a band gets compared to any of these genre heavyweights I must take notice. Needless to say, such comparisons mandated that I pick up Every Hour Wounds… The Last One Kills, the sophomore album from French band Parallel Minds.” The mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Lord Divine – Facing Chaos Review

Lord Divine – Facing Chaos Review

“One of the biggest water hazards in the reviewing game is tackling a unknown band with a decent sized discography already in place that you somehow missed out on entirely. Though I usually try to avoid these challenging situations, Argentina’s prog-power wielders Lord Divine made me take a risky play here. A prolific unit, they boast four previous albums in addition to today’s topic of interest, Facing Chaos. I’d never heard of them, but the promo write up checked all the right boxes and mentioned all the right influences, so I took a cautious flyer.” Chaos is a ladder.

Malphas – The 39th Spirit Review

Malphas – The 39th Spirit Review

“With a concept album comes even more pressure than a typical release. Not only should the music be good, but it should seamlessly blend with the story. And it’s gotta be convincing. When I listen to King‘s The Puppetmaster, I can feel myself hanging from a hook at a long-forgotten puppet shop in “Living Dead.” I can feel the battle brewing in the barren wasteland of Iced Earth‘s “Desert Rain.” And I can feel the weight hanging on Immortal in Unleash the Archers‘ “Cleanse the Bloodlines.” What’s it feel like to make a pact with a demon to obliterate organized religion?” 39 spirits and a Grier ain’t one.