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Old 01-13-2014, 07:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Oh it is friggin' amazing Ki! Like the first album in years (other than the next one coming up, again kindly rec'd by Ant) where I've literally sat talking to myself going "I love this album! How can this be so good??"

Oh, and I've just heard the extra demos on the second CD for the first time. Even they're excellent! Jesus! I may just be in love with this guy! I hope I don't find out this was one diamond in a pile of fake pearls! Is the rest of his stuff this good? You are required to say yes or I may have to kill myself in disappointment. And then you. No, that wouldn't work. Other way round.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:10 PM   #12 (permalink)
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^His other work is pretty fantastic as well. Epicloud I dare say is not even his best album, though it's certainly a great one to start. He goes into many different modes with his music;

For example, with Ki and Ghost, he's more mellow and smooth:

Spoiler for ki and ghost:





And then we have his heavier side with Deconstruction and of course, Epicloud:



And there's still so much more, like with his solo project titled Devin Townsend, there's albums like Ziltoid The Omniscient, Physicist, and Ocean Machine.

Then we have his other project "The Devin Townsend Band" who have only released two albums, one of which is a personal favorite, Synchestra:



Now if you really want his older stuff, check out Strapping Young Lad. He's the lead vocalist/growler in that project.

It's hard to say for me personally which I choose as my favorite Devin Townsend album as it changes constantly depending on my mood. He's a master of his own craft and it shows throughout his entire catalog. It's worth a look through, that's all I can say, really.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:28 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Love the write up on Epicloud TH. I was introduced to Devin a couple years ago while being a contributing member to an Album of the Month club (I believe our member Ki was a part of that too). It was when I first heard "Ki" by Devin and I have been enamored by the man ever since, and my infatuation grew even stronger when I found out he sang for Steve Vai which pretty much fueled what we hear from him today.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:21 AM   #14 (permalink)
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The tall ships --- It Bites --- Recommended by Anteater

It may seem like everything I'm posting here is recommended by two people, and to some extent it is, but nobody has really recommended anything else to me at least that I can remember. If anything comes to mind I will post it. Actually, now I think of it as I'm typing this there were a few from The Batlord, so I'll try to include one of those next.

For now, this was It Bites' first album in almost two decades, such a long gap that you could be forgiven for thinking they had split up. In some ways they had. Original singer and guitarist Francis Dunnery had left, and he was the heart and soul of the band. He was eventually replaced (after being asked back and hmming and hawing over it) by John Mitchell, late of Arena, Kino and Frost* among others, and the band has never sounded better.

I've already extensively reviewed this in my journal, and it featured in the Prog Rock Album Club --- which was where the rec from Ant came from --- so I won't go into it in too much detail here, except to say that if you approach this album with an open mind you may be surprised. Like already-featured "Epicloud" above, this album just gets better with every track. Unlike Devin's effort though, it is very slightly let down by the odd below-par track, but only one or maybe two.

It Bites have always described themselves as "Progressive Pop", and that's what you get here in abundance: hooky melodies that could easily grace any airwave, while still retaining the prog rock goodness we all love. Closer "This is England" clocks in at nearly fourteen minutes, while "The wind that shakes the barley" is over eight, so there's no shortage of epics. But it's in shorter, snappier songs like "Ghosts", the opener "Oh my God", "Lights" and "The memory of water" that this album really shines.

My favourite though is the title track; just can't praise it enough. A celtic-infused melody with a hook to die for and some sterling axework from Mitchell, it's the jewel in this gem-laden crown. And that's to say nothing of the ballads which flow as easily as water over stones in a gentle brook, all ushered on by Mitchell's underappreciated vocal talents. Just special.

If you thought "It Bites" were all about "Calling all the heroes", or you have never heard of them or never tried their music, this is the album that could very well convert you. The comeback of all comebacks, as far as I'm concerned. As I featured in my journal, "Gobsmacked."

Rec rating: 9.5/10 (only fails to get full marks because of a few tiny little niggles that aren't an issue with "Epicloud")
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:50 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Listening to because: http://www.musicbanter.com/album-rev...ml#post1400194

It's not so much a recommendation as it is finding it in someone's thread and listening to it. Though, I give credit to Anteater for posting about the album, because as much as I did know they did release a new album, I never got around to listening to it. Seeing him put it in a list of top albums made me want to listen to it.

Being one of the few Queensryche fans at this forum, I figured it'd be a good idea to finally give this a listen, and what a fantastic album it is. Right away, you know that you're listening to a Queensryche album and not some try hard wishy washy prog album that sounds like everything else. The vocalist is Todd La Torre on this album, and as much as I like Geoff Tate a lot more, he really does add his own individuality on this album, and it's done in a way that makes it sound fresh and new, but still remaining to keep that good ol' QR sound. The guitarist puts so much into what he wants to portray on this album in a way that he sounds heavier than ever, at least in my opinion. I mean, the opening chord to this song really shows what to expect:



Coincidentally, I found Spore to be the stand out track to me as it really has that great chorus I look for in a progressive metal album. However, that's not saying the rest of the album sucks, it's fantastic. It's a beautifully crafted progressive metal album. Definitely a step forward for Queensryche, and i'm interested to hear more of Todd La Torre, because if he keeps the sound that he has on this album, i'll be far more open minded with him.

Fantastic album, Anteater. I know you didn't recommend this directly, but I see why this made your list.

Rating: 8.5/10
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Old 01-17-2014, 04:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Random access memories --- Daft Punk --- Recommended by everyone

Yeah yeah I know: it's about bloody time you old progger you! Get with the program etc. First of all, I know or knew nothing of this band, second all I heard (other than knicker-melting praise from every quarter) was that it used a lot of vocoders and was like seventies disco, two things I do not like. So I thought it ain't for me. You all probably know by now I'm not one to just jump on the bandwagon and say I like an album just because everyone else digs it (cough) Loveless (cough)!

But flash forward a few months and I'm watching TV and an ad comes on for this album. They play "Get lucky" and I think hell that ain't bad at all! So I take the chance and download the album and ... well, read on.

The thing that perhaps got me over my hatred of vocoders was listening to YorkeDaddy's album, "Frownland". When I listened to the opener on this I just sort of thought of "Welcome to the party" (whaddya mean, you haven't heard cloudcover's album yet? Get to their website asap!) and things began to slot into place. I really enjoyed the first track and then was surprised at how mellow it all went. I was expecting dancy, disco vibes and what I got, er, wasn't. It was all a lot slower, mostly, and more ambient than I had been prepared for.

Even the faster tracks, such as "Lose yourself to dance" and of course "Get lucky" I found I really liked, though you can keep "Doin' it right", and as for "Giorgio by Moroder"? Come on: the idea's cool but do you really want to hear our Giorgio talk about his dreams about being a musician and how he discovered synthesisers when you're playing the album for the eleventh time? It wears real old real quick. The problem is that the music backing it is so good that I can't just skip it. Bah. Maybe there's some way to strip out his vocal?

Everything else I like, and this is, rather belatedly admittedly, becoming one of my most spun albums of the last week or so. I love the closer too: the energy and sense of fun in "Contact" is just a perfect one to end on. Overall I'm extremely impressed, and though as I say I held out for a good while I'm now down with all you guys and girls and may even buy a robot mask.

Note: I will not be buying a robot mask.

Rec rating: 9/10 (Only loses out because of Giorgio bloody Moroder and his waffling....)
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Old 01-17-2014, 05:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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^That quickly got onto my top list for 2013 upon first hearing it. Lose Yourself To Dance slowly became my favorite track off the album. I just find that the first track really opens up what the whole album is about. "Give Life Back To Music". I mean, you can't be any more straight-forward than that. Really happy to see someone as yourself enjoy what it has to offer as it really impressed a lot of people with how they conveyed the whole 70's/80's era while still maintaining the good ol' Daft Punk sound that we all have come to know and love. Although I know you aren't too familiar with the duo, you should listen to more of their stuff. Truly fantastic music. Anyway, good review
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:08 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ki View Post

...Coincidentally, I found Spore to be the stand out track to me as it really has that great chorus I look for in a progressive metal album. However, that's not saying the rest of the album sucks, it's fantastic. It's a beautifully crafted progressive metal album. Definitely a step forward for Queensryche, and i'm interested to hear more of Todd La Torre, because if he keeps the sound that he has on this album, i'll be far more open minded with him.

Fantastic album, Anteater. I know you didn't recommend this directly, but I see why this made your list.

Rating: 8.5/10
Glad you dug it amigo! Keep your ears to the ground if you like what La Torre brings to the QR table, because they're already recording for the next album...and based on the info they've released, it's going to be a doozy.

P.S. Daft Punk are schmexay
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:01 PM   #19 (permalink)
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... And the cannons of destruction have begun --- Warlord --- Recommended by The Batlord

I'm currently sitting in a chair with my foot raised and bandaged, in a cast. Why> I'll tell you why. Because in his journal, said Batlord enthused so much over this album that he said I should drop whatever I was doing and check it out. Trusting his recs I hastened to do so, unfortunately the thing I was doing at the time was transporting some heavy paving slabs. Dropping one on my foot has, however, given me the opportunity to listen to this find that so impressed he who sits on the Bat-throne. So, was it worth it? Let's see. And may I say also, ow?

The first thing I noticed was a decent atmospheric build up but it's very overblown; not so much portentous and pretentious --- and yes, I know making that comparison is the height of pretension anyway, but I doubt the universe will implode just yet --- bringing us into the real opening track. Now it's good, heads-down heavy metal with a lot of melody, but there's just one thing bugging me about it: it follows a little too closely the melody and riffs from Gary Moore's "End of the world", and that was released two years prior. Don't believe me? Have a listen.
(Check from about 2:10 on)

I'm not saying they're exactly the same but there are definitely correlations with the melodies and riffs. Coincidence? Maybe. But these guys are the band Doomsword worship and model themselves on, and to quote The Batlord, Doomsword rock! So surely it'll pick up, yes? Well let's see.

So it's a good track but the similarities are too much for me to believe Warlord have not been listening to "Corridors of power" in their spare time. Then they go all Bon Jovi with "Lost and lonely days". Again, listen to this track from the New Jersey lads' self-titled debut, which was at least released the same year so I won't accuse them of copying Jon and the boys, but again it's close and a little uncomfortably so.


And so we're on to "Black mass", with a suitably Sabbath doomy opening but which quickly switches up into a cross between Ten and Manowar. Nothing wrong with any of these tracks but they're hardly coming across as original. Plus the production is awful. Where did they record this: someone's bathroom? The vocalist often sounds flat and the music seems almost muffled at times. "Aliens" is laughable. It's just terrible, almost like a metal band doing a song about aliens because they feel they should. I laughed at Neonfly's "I think I saw a UFO" last year, but this is worse.

Luckily, they rescue it at the death. For the last two tracks, one of which is split into an instrumental called 1984 (but in Roman numerals) and the other half is, as His Batness reminded us, a song that was covered by Hammerfall, "Child of the damned", and it's pretty damned good. The closer is "Deliver us from evil", the last of four tracks that appear on their original EP, so named, and it's brilliant, a great closer.

So then, what do we have? A band who Batty now worships but I see a lot of flaws in. Basically, they seem not to really know what direction they want to go in --- the keyboard intro to "Soliloquy" is almost AOR or even pop, but I'll be kind and say it's symphonic rock/metal --- with pretty dull and flat production and certainly enough self-belief to equip the armies of four continents, plus the talent to back it up. But songs that do not in my opinion display their expertise to its fullest. I say again, "Aliens". Good god.

I have to admit, I expected a whole lot more given the trouser-creaming comments of The Batlord, but as for me, with this album my own skirt is very much still in place and I doubt I'll be pushing further into their short discography. Or if I do it'll be via Spotify. I bought this album --- only cost 35 cents, and who is gonna miss 35 cents? --- as I wanted to give it a few spins before making my decision and I also expected it to be one I would want to keep playing. I'm not saying it was money wasted...

Anyway, that's how I feel about this album. No doubt Batty will call me a stupid clueless little girl, but despite expecting it to be really something of a revelation I'm left with mostly a sense of meh.

And may I also add once again, ow!
Sorry Bats!


Rec rating: rather surprisingly to me, all I can muster is a tentative 6/10
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:32 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Chasing locusts --- Strawfoot --- Recommended by Goofle

As ever, I'm a magpie and I love cool covers and cool names. When I saw this mentioned in Goofle's journal and heard it was "gothic country" I had to have a listen. I've only heard it through the once, but there are only three words I can now use to describe this album, and quite possibly this band:

DAMN GOOD FUN!

Chock-full of fiddles, pedal steel and harmonicas, it opens like one of those old western movies, like something the cowboys would sing as they rode across the plains in search of cattle, or possibly a career, or waited for a train to rob. Then it just jumps into a rip-roarin' fest of reels, jigs, barn and sqaure dances and hoedowns and just about everything else associated with country and maybe folk. I don't to be honest see the gothicity in it; seems pretty upbeat to me. But then I haven't really paid too much attention to the lyrics and this is my first listen, so perhaps on further spins (which there will certainly be) I may change my mind. Kind of puts me in mind of what Nick Cave would sound like if he made a Country album...

The voice of founder and singer Marcus Eder, also known as the Dapper King of Libertine, fits these songs perfectly, and I think it's so cool that Wiki tells me he's some distant relation to Mark Twain. How much more "Southahn" can you get?

I would single out favourite tracks but as I say I've only heard it the once, but there's nothing here I don't like. Great rec Goof! Have to start paying more attention to your journal in terms of the actual music.

Rec rating:
gotta be in the area of 8/10, and may increase after I've listened a few more times. Now to un-Spotify this and go buy the thing!
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