A Good Week for Prog

Greetings Friends, Enemies, and Frenemies,

Your friendly neighborhood loud rock director here with a quick collection of music reviews in honor of the best day of musical releases we’ve had in quite sometime, October 9th, 2012. I could go on and one with some over-worded introduction, but I’m too stoked on these new albums.

So without further textual blabbery, I bring you PROG!

Enslaved – RIITIIR

Enslaved is a band that has put in work over the years. The band has twelve albums in their 21-year long career and has managed to rarely, if ever, have an album that could called less than “great.”

This latest release, RIITIIR, is not only fun to type (shout-out to palindromes), but it is, by far, my favorite album they’re done. The songs are hypnotic musical adventures into the mind of a viking on a drug trip. The songs toe the line between melodic black metal and doom is the perfect way. Both of their vocal styles are balanced and utilized in the best ways. The clean vocals are soaring and triumphant while the harsh vocals appropriately sound like some sort of troll demon.

The album was given some flack for having songs that are too long by a prominent hipster blog, but this is such a weak reason not to like this album. Yes, the songs are long, but they are epic musical journeys that require time to explore and digest. My favorite metal blog, Metal Sucks, stated that this album was possibly too good for words, but I managed to find these words to express my agreement with their praise of this phenomenal collection of songs.

Get this one now via Nuclear Blast records


Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence

In 2007 BtBaM released an album that would change how I listened to heavy music forever, Colors. This album brought me to the realization that metal can be an outlet for numerous influences and genres while remaining metal. Since then, the band has released a couple of solid releases that I enjoyed, but these were B+’s where Colors was an A+. The Parallax II: Future Sequence is another A.

Songs like “Telos” and “Silent Flight Parliament” present a lovely contrast of heavy madness and melodic introspection all with a storyline touching on space and time travel. This album reintroduces the jaw-dropping diversity that The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues EP lacked, while reinstalling a frantic heaviness not heard since the 2005 album, Alaska. Any fan that may have dropped off after Colors need to give this one a shot.

A prime example of the diversity on this album can be summed up in the track, “Bloom.” This song opens with an anxiety inducing piano intro before journeying into a very awkward section. From here the song goes into the expected heavy BtBaM-ness, then transitions into a surf guitar breakdown, then off to a new place. All of these before the three-minute mark.

Get this one now via Metal Blade records.


Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Ascension

I don’t intentionally keep my love for this band a secret on purpose, but having a “metal” show it just kind of happens. It is time I out myself. I love Coheed and Cambria. I have all of their albums, I have all the comics in the Amory Wars series, and I even have the Year of The Black Rainbow novel. Yes, there are certainly fans who can out-nerd my enjoyment for this band, but I have more non-musical material (normal people might call this merch) related to this band than any other. Even more than my Devin Townsend collection.

The past few years have been rough for Claudio and Travis. Their drummer left and their bass player went crazy. Ascension is the first to include new bassist Zach Cooper, and the first since 2005 to include drummer Josh Eppard. Replacing half a lineup can leave any fan a bit weary, but these guys managed to pull through with another awesome album.

Aside from a more prominent lean towards melody over prog craziness, this album is not drastically different from the previous album Year of the Black Rainbow,  which I liked a lot. My only real problem with Ascension is that it is over too soon. This will actually work out for patient fans since part two, Descension, will be out in February. It will only be a few months before we get another look at Claudio Sanchez’s science fiction epic. I’m already excited.

Get this one now via Hundred Handed/Everything Evil records


_Daniel Cordova
Tune in to Far Beyond Metal every Tuesday from 3-5 PM PST on KSSU.com


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