Artist: Various Artists Title: “Music In Progress” V2 Label: InsideOut Music Release Date: 4/13/2010 Genre: Progressive Metal Rating: 4/5
I once heard a saying that went “If It’s Free It’s For Me”, and I have to admit that this is totally my mindset these days based on the dismal economy that we are in. I’m not alone in this of course and it seems that at every turn the consumer is watching their spending habits a whole lot more than ever before and this makes preview releases such as this latest offering from InsideOut Music all the more appealing. Even though this is free you might be wondering what would lead you to set aside the time to download these particular tunes and this is especially going to be the case if you have no idea about anything that InsideOut Music has brought to the table over the past few years. That being said let me educate those who might be unaware and say that this label has long been a leading provider of quality Progressive Metal music. For years they gave us stuff like OSI, IQ, Symphony X and King’s X along with Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic to name a choice few and with that being said you can safely adventure forward with no level of fear. Even though I mentioned some of the bigger bands its safe to say that if you have enjoyed this genre in any fashion then you have likely been listening to a number of the other bands on their roster and can attest to the level of quality that they dish out on its behalf. This edition is listed as “Vol. 2” and it clocks in at twelve stunning tracks which will totally do the trick and find the downloader investigating the presented artists a little deeper at the end of the day. This alone is a good thing because if by giving us a healthy sample of their amazing talent, the listeners might very well go out and purchase a full album afterward and that makes it a win-win situation in a very trying time in the music industry. Continue reading “Music In Progress” Vol. 2 by Various Artists→
Since starting up the website we have tried our best to maintain an annual list of what we felt was the most stand out of music releases, videos and live concert events. It’s generally a daunting task since being a reviewer of these wide scoping mediums you really have to keep it maintained as the year progresses along. This year the task would be much more involved and intense because it was also the end of the decade and closed out on a very amazing number of years in the Metal realm. Initially I had added the previous ten years views at the end of the “Best Of 2009” thoughts but realized that this was better presented as a standalone piece. That would allow me to keep it as something special of its own and allow for easier digestion and research into the picks. Having been to a lot of shows and listened to a lot of music that was submitted in addition to that which was purchased I did my best at giving a tip of the hat to some of the things that we could recall as being of significant importance on the Metal and Hard Rock scene over the last ten years. I’m going to break this up into two parts and start with the music and videos. I hope you enjoy it.
PiercingMetal.com’s Top 10 CD Releases Of The Decade: 2000-2009:
Are you kidding me? You actually expect me to define only ten releases for an entire decade when the last five years of my life have been spent reviewing music…..do you people realize just how many albums that comes out to when you add it all up? OK, so even though I am closing in on 1000 actual CD reviews for the website, I will give a quick nod to ten of the albums that I found very appealing to my Metal and Hard Rock ears. You know what, since this is a big occasion and only happens once every ten years I will give you even more than CD preferences and add to the mix some of the DVD’s that I found to be noteworthy and make this whole thing a little more worth reading. Please understand that we did NOT offer up a top to bottom ranking on this list and just wanted you to be aware of some of our favorite releases from the decade that spanned from 2000-2009. Enjoy.
Kamelot “Ghost Opera” (SPV Records): The mighty Kamelot followed up their astounding “Black Halo” CD with this album and while they had already snared me with that release, this one signed the paperwork in blood.
KISS “Alive” Boxed Set (Universal Music): You’re probably screaming at me for including a CD boxed set that compiles all three existing KISS “Alive” recordings and offers up a long missing fourth one and if you are too bad about you. I found these albums inspirational, well at least the first two, and to find all of it put in one handy place with a superb booklet I could find no fault in this and it truly was one of my favorite items over the past ten years.
The 69 Eyes “Devils” (EMI Music): For me this ranks as one of the Decade’s best because it was an album that opened the band up to an entirely new fan base since it was the first of the bands catalog to be available in this part of the world. It would be followed by the full back catalogue but without this one they still might have been a best kept musical secret from Finland. My own first go at the band came via “Blessed Be” and the track “Brandon Lee”, so while a few years late to the party still a fan since that time.
Unexpect “In A Flesh Aquarium” (The End Records): This band defies description more than it does not and shows just how much room there is in modern Metal music. Take Progressive, Black Metal, Jazz and blend it up for this tasty musical cocktail. Diversity thy name is Unexpect.
Metallica “Death Magnetic” (Warner Music Group): Love it or not based on the “production” that some experts are lambasting, this was the album that showed us all that Metallica could still kick our ass with a Metal album. Now Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and MTV Icons, they chose to no longer take the role for granted and pummeled us.
Nightwish “Wishmaster” (Century Media Records): This 2001 release would be the album for the band that would somehow spark my own interest in reviewing albums and concerts so how could it not be on my list of best of the decade.
Porcupine Tree “Fear Of A Blank Planet” (Atlantic Records): Really just an incredible album and one that broke a lot of new fans for the work. Congratulations Mr. Wilson.
If you have been observing the releases that came upon us during 2008 then you will agree that this was a tremendous year for Metal. We’ve noted in our editorial that it felt like the year of the comeback as much as it delivered new bands that we hope will shine far into the future. The multi-faceted genre that makes up our Metal not only delivered quality music releases but also DVD’s, Books and Concerts that left you sore and with that in mind we are lining out some of the best stuff that we felt was delivered. In this installment I will only be giving the tip of the hat to the best albums for 2008 since I liked a lot of them. Doing it like this lets us all keep a proper focus. Here we go.
The Best Albums Of 2008:
Eluveitie “Slania” (Nuclear Blast Records): Pagan/Folk Metal of resounding proportions. I loved this one and played it quite a bit.
Meshuggah “Obzen” (Nuclear Blast Records) – Reminding us with every groove and spine crushing riff that they are one of the most powerful Metal bands on the planet. If this is news to you, then get with the program.
Journey “Revelation”(Columbia Records): New singer, new album, new versions of classic material & a DVD concert all in one package? Truly this is a standout release from the Rock legends.
Whitesnake “Good To Be Bad” (SPV Records): It’s as if no time had passed by and this CD came out after the juggernaut self-titled album from the eighties. Great work guys.
Artist: Ayreon Title: “The Human Equation” Label: Inside Out Records Release Date: 5/25/2004 Genre: Progressive Metal Rating: 9/10
Multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen has once again crafted a diverse and interesting piece of music for his many fans. Following his successful touring with his “Star One” project this recording might very well be considered Ayreon’s finest work of them all. Like most of his musical adventures, Arjen makes sure to use a cast of performers that are second to none in the world of Progressive and Heavy Metal music. Among them is cast the newly discovered Marcela Bovio who Lucassens found from an Internet contest entry. Her voice is amazing and one can only hope that this is only the beginning of what we will see from her. James LaBrie of the mighty Dream Theater also lends his voice to the piece as the principle character and so does Michael Akereldt of Opeth. The list continues on with Irene Jansen, Devon Townsend and many others. Truly a who’s who in the world of popular Metal and Rock. The story that is lined out this time focuses on the central character who is lying in a hospital bed after a terrible accident. This setting is the polar opposite from his space and fantasy themes of the past. The character is watched by his Wife and Best Friend in hopes of his recovery. At the same time his mind is paid visit by many different emotions and memories; all of them vying for his decisions in the healing process. This was one CD that I was finding myself lucky in seeing a lyric book inside. You need to read along with this piece as you listen. An added part of the appeal I found was the enjoyment of the story itself. Continue reading “The Human Equation” by Ayreon→