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Trollheart 12-12-2015 12:28 PM

Trollheart's Listening List 2015/2016
Robbing this idea slightly (ie completely) from our Goofle, I'm going to use this thread as a way of making sure I get through my massive backlog of recently purchased music, which at the moment I am still in the process of downloading. As I listen to each album I'll do a short(ish) review of it and rate it. I'll be publishing the list shortly.

Note: this is NOT a rec thread. I have more than enough albums for this thread and I don't want any more. However if you know any of the albums I'll be listing and want to offer comments/advice/warnings, by all means go ahead.

Further Note: Though generally these will all be 2015 (and later, 2016) albums, this list is a record of what I am listening to/have listened to/will listen to this and next year, not necessarily only the new albums. So from time to time the odd album from 2014, or perhaps even further back, may creep in.

One more further note: Just to be different, I'm going to show where each album comes in the artiste's discography by inserting a big red number, 1 for debut, 2 for second album and so on.

Bear in mind that 99% of these I have not listened to, some I have but have not reviewed, and the odd one may have appeared, or will appear subsequently, in one of my journals. Many I chose on the basis of name or cover of album, and after listening to samples, so god knows what I may have in here. I'll be doing these in order. I'll try to do one a day, but who knows how that will work out? This list will be updated as I go along. Albums reviewed will be marked in Green (this does not reflect a "Love" status as in my other thread, merely that they've been completed) and their images will be removed from the OP here and replaced by the next one.

I've decided to change the "Familiarity" category, as it's a little vague. In future, I'll be assigning a Rank to this. I may do this retrospectively too. They will run thusly:
Noob: Have never heard anything by this artiste before.
Novice: 1 album only heard from the discography. Not very familiar with the artiste.
Apprentice: 2 or 3 albums heard from the artiste. Reasonably familiar but need to hear more.
Adept: More than four, or more than half of the discography, whichever is greater. Quite familiar at this point.
Master Adept: Have heard all their albums and know the artiste really well
High Priest: Have heard all their albums and know the artiste inside out.

As I have just merged this thread with my older review thread, the reviews from that thread will appear here shortly. Because of this, I have changed the running order below slightly to accommodate the albums from that thread. Not that you care.
Men Who Climb Mountains - Pendragon (Progressive Rock)
The Ghosts of Pripyat - Steve Rothery (Progressive Rock)
Somewhere Between Here and There - Edison's Children (Progressive Rock)
Ten --- The Dragon and St. George
Lanterns on the Lake --- Beings
Riverside --- Love, Fear and the Time Machine
The Blues Overdrive --- Clinch!
Waken Eyes --- Exodus
Time Horizon --- Transitions
Mystery --- Delusion Rain
Julia Wolfe --- Anthracite Fields
Half Moon Run --- Sun Leads Me On
Panic Room --- Satellite
Don Henley --- Cass County
Antimatter --- The Judas Table
Jeff Lynne's ELO --- Alone in the Universe
Dark Symphonica --- Immersion
Gregg Lake/Geoff Downes --- Ride the Tiger
Gazpacho – Molok
Funeris --- Act III: Bitterness
Panopticon --- Autumn Eternal
Draconian --- Sovran
Baroness --- Purple
Eluvium --- Nightmare Ending
Comedy of Errors --- Spirit
Cynara --- There's No Beginning
Steve Roach --- Bloodmoon Rising --- Night 4
Gloryhammer ---- Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards
Leaves Eyes --- King of Kings
Kinetic Element --- Travelog
Progression by Failure --- Sonic Travelogue
Trespass --- Trespass
Unified Past --- Shifting the Equilibrium
Colin Bass --- At Wild End
A-Ha --- Cast in Steel
Gert Emmens and Ruud Heidj --- Echoes from Future Memories
John Grant --- Black Tickles, Grey Pressure
Bon Jovi --- Burning Bridges
Shadow Gallery --- Digital Ghosts
Threshold --- For the Journey
Arena --- The Unquiet Sky
Ten --- Isla de Muerta
Lunatic Soul --- Walking On a Flashlight Beam

Pendragon --- Men Who Climb Mountains
Steve Rothery --- The Ghosts of Pripyat
Edison's Children --- Somewhere Between Here and There
Millenium --- In Search of the Perfect Melody
Europe --- War of Kings
Tiger Moth Tales --- Storytellers, Part One
Karfagen --- 7
Newman --- The Elegance Machine
Midas Fall --- The Menagerie Inside
Stratovarius --- Eternal
The Sword – High Country
Elegy --- Reflection
House of Lords --- Indestructible
Detune Distortion Despondency --- Compilation 3.3
Praying Mantis --- Legacy
Spock's Beard --- The Oblivion Particle
Avenguard --- Epic Tales II
Royal Hunt --- Devil's Dozen
Echolyn --- I heard you listening
Constanzia --- Final Curtain
Dead Letter Circus --- Aesthesis
Hank Williams III – Take as Needed for Pain
Edison's Children --- Somewhere Between Here and There
Avenguard --- Epic Tales
Offramp --- The Road Goes On
Motorhead --- Bad Magic
Xandria --- Fire and Ashes
Iron Kingdom --- Ride for Glory
The Smokering --- Nothin' Comes Easy
Nelson --- Peace Out
Killer --- Monsters of Rock
Borealis --- Purgatory
Burning Point --- Burning Point
Backbone Blues Band --- Which Way to the Blues
Stormhammer --- Echoes of a Lost Paradise
Virgin Steele --- Nocturnes of Fire and Damnation
Luca Turilli's Rhapsody --- Prometheus-Symphonia Ignis Divinus
Steve Earle and the Dukes --- Terraplane
Millenium --- In Search of the Perfect Melody
The Dreaming --- Rise Again
Forever's Fallen Grace --- Ascending the Monolith
Sigh --- Graveward
Cairo --- A History of Reasons
Glacier --- Ashes for the Monarch
Ghosts of Eden --- What Makes You Happy
Fever Ray, Trevor Morris --- Vikings OST
Steven Wilson --- Hand. Cannot. Erase
The Storyteller --- Sacred Fire
Guthrie --- Painted Words
Graal --- Chapter IV
Glass Caves --- Alive
Detune Distortion Despondency --- Thought in the Form of Snow
Beyond the Black --- Songs of Love and Death
The Adventures --- Supersonic Home
Crown of Twilight --- Cold Late Winter
Europe --- War of Kings
The White Birch --- The Weight of Spring
Flying Colours --- Second Nature
Saracen – Redemption
Pineapple Thief – Magnolia
Blush --- Lifelines
Boduf Songs --- Stench of Exist
Koolsax --- Beyond the Sunset
Natalie Prass --- Natalie Prass
Black Whiskey --- Heavy Train
Funeris --- Funereal Symphonies
Blackberry Smoke --- Holding all the Roses
Winterage --- The Symphonic Passage
Impera --- Empire of Sin
Edenwar --- Edenwar
James Taylor --- Before this World

66Sexy 12-12-2015 12:42 PM

Did you say you were taking recs?!

Trollheart 12-12-2015 01:29 PM


Originally Posted by The Batlord (Post 1659750)

I did not. I did, in fact, say the very opposite, and you know it.

Fluff 12-12-2015 01:30 PM

lol'd at both of the above posts.

66Sexy 12-12-2015 01:39 PM

I still say you should add Big Bear to your listening queue.

Trollheart 12-12-2015 01:43 PM


Originally Posted by The Batlord (Post 1659767)
I still say you should add Big Bear to your listening queue.

And I say you should add Peter Gabriel to yours.

Neither of these suggestions will be taken up by either party.

Trollheart 12-12-2015 08:01 PM
Title: The Dragon and Saint George
Artiste: Ten
Year 2015
Nationality: English
Genre: Melodic Rock/AOR
Familiarity: 100%: I have all their albums and they are one of my favourite recent bands, even if none of you proles have ever heard of them...

Expectations: Ten have slipped in recent times, and their 2011 Stormwarning was not up to much, the first of theirs to disappoint me, while 2012's Heresy and Creed stepped it up and brought them back to the kind of quality I expect from them. Since then they've had two more albums but in typical Trollheart fashion, I haven't managed to listen to them. However I hope this, as a taster from this year's La Isla Muerta, continues the tradition of excellent melodic rock/metal I've been used to them churning out over almost twenty years now.

Note: this is weird. Ten have released I think three EPs in their career, and this one looks to be almost unnecessary. Rather than being, as I expected, a precursor to the album, it was released after it (four months after, to be precise) and contains both tracks from it and the previous album as well as some new material. Odd, to say the least: Ten are not normally into ripping off their fans like this, though I suppose when you calculate up that of the thirty-one minutes of music here, twelve are completely new tracks, while if you add in the special edition only tracks then it brings it to nineteen, leaving only two tracks, one from each album, already released. So I suppose it's not bad value in those terms.

Anyway, none of you give a **** about that (or about this review, but that won't stop me) so let's get on to the music itself.

1. The Dragon and Saint George: Good hard rocker to start things off, with that unmistakable Ten sound I've enjoyed over ten albums now (two yet to be sampled) and the vocals from Gary Hughes coupled with new guitarists (well, new to me) Dann Rosingana and Steve Grocutt backing up John Helliwell making a powerful combination. Peppy keys from Darrell Treee-Birch add the expected flair to the song. It's not, to be fair, a classic Ten song, but it doesn't come close to the disappointment I suffered with Stormwarning. A decent start, but I'm hoping for better. This is one of the tracks from the new album, which does concern me slightly. Well, we'll see when I get to listen to the full album, which I'll have to add to the list later.
2. Musketeers: Soldiers of the King: Another fast rocker, driven pretty much on Treece-Birch's jumping keyboards. Gary likes his history, so the subject is not that unexpected. Again, it's a good track but not a great track. Come on guys: you can do better than this, I know you can.
3. Is there anyone with sense: Good sense of hard rock about this, moving a little away from the more AOR/melodic style they usually pursue. Good hook, though it sounds similar to a few other songs of theirs such as “The twilight masquerade” and “The alchemist”. Not so much as to be a rip-off or rewrite of those songs but certainly reminiscent of them. Really nice guitar solo, though who by is anyone's guess with three guitarists, two of whom play lead. Once again though, good where I want great. Still kind of waiting.
4. The prodigal saviour: Very much more into the melodic vein of things, the hook in this one comes close to what I expect from these guys. Could be on to something here.
5. Albion born: Oh, like the choral opening and then the stately keyboards against which Gary can really let loose with his vocal, rolling drums behind him slowly ushering in very Big Country guitar. This could be the one. Sad that it already comes from the previous album, but it may be a pointer to the quality on Albion, which I have yet to hear. Stirring and moving, emotional and powerful. Yeah, this is more like it. Sure, it probably seems cheesy to most people, but this is the Ten I know and love. Reminds me of Return to Evermore. Great stuff.
6. Good God in Heaven what Hell is this: Even with such a weird title as that, brilliant rocker that puts the occasional metal in Ten's description as melodic metal (though I wouldn't really ever call them that) and points back to the glory days of The Robe and The Name of the Rose.
7. We can be as one: One thing Ten do is amazing ballads, and here's a great one to close. Piano-driven, with gorgeous lyric and a passionate vocal from Gary. Simple and perfect.

Final result: I suppose in fairness there's a reason why all but two of these tracks were dropped from the two albums. They certainly don't showcase Ten at their best, and one of the tracks that does is from the last-but-one album. However the closer, which is on the new album but only the European edition as a bonus track, reaffirms my faith in this band and I look forward now to experiencing those two albums in full.

Rating: :hphones: :hphones: :hphones:

Anteater 12-12-2015 09:36 PM

I'll save you some time and tell you that Time Horizon album is pretty meh whilst the Unified Past album was good enough to get into my top ten this year. Take that for what you will. :wave:

Nice review of Ten there. I love their first two albums to death (particularly The Name Of The Rose), but they sorta fell off for me after that. I'll have to give The Dragon and Saint George a fair go it looks like...

Trollheart 12-13-2015 05:30 AM

Thanks for that Ant. As I said, many of these were impulse purchases and could turn out to be terrible, making this into a sort of "Love or Hate?" style thread, so although I'm using the format I'm trying to stay away from making it too similar to that as I can (no recs, no Love or Hate conclusion etc).

I've actually seldom heard a bad Ten record (glad/amazed you've actually heard of them!) other than as I mentioned the 2011 one, but this EP gives me some hope that the last two will be more Heresy and Creed than Stormwarning!

Stoked to see I have one of your top albums on the list; looking forward to hearing that.

Trollheart 12-13-2015 01:25 PM
Title: Beings
Artiste: Lanterns on the Lake
Year 2015
Nationality: English
Genre: Indie Rock
Familiarity: I've heard and loved Gracious Tide, Take Me Home
Expectations: I don't know. There were mixed reviews for the followup, Until the Colours Run, but I've not yet heard that. I'm hoping this will be more in the style of the debut than the second album. Either way it will be great to hear Hazel again.

1. Of dust and matter: After some radio-tuning noises and effects we're greeted by a single acoustic guitar strumming slowly, and then that angelic voice of Hazel Wilde, with crying synth rising behind her like some sort of banshee. Beautiful lonely piano now as Hazel's voice rises in passion, and it's a strong, strong start and augurs well for the rest of the album. Rolling percussion and really sprinkly piano as we rise towards the conclusion of the song
2. I'll stall them: Beautiful piano and sweet trumpet leads this in, then it gets pretty passionate and powerful as it goes along, Hazel's soulful voice taking command with a great sort of again crying synth counterpointing the brass and making this just something quite special.
3. Faultlines: More uptempo with some busy percussion and rolling piano, a stronger vocal from Hazel but I feel it could end at the three minute mark whereas it continues on to five. It's not that it's overstretched, as such, but it does seem a little unnecessarily long. Still a great track though.
4. The crawl: The first since the opener to begin on guitar, joined then by Hazel's piano and another ethereal vocal. Love the sort of militaristic drumbeat that is somehow both incongruous and exactly fits. That rising synth (I'm beginning to wonder if it's guitar?) is back and it slots right into the feel of the song.
5. Send me home: Wondering if that's violin accompanying the piano at the opening of this ballad? Short but beautiful, the way LotL do so well.
6. Through the cellar door: Kind of a slightly Prefab idea about this I feel; midpaced with a really nice just gently riffing guitar that then bursts out in a quite unexpected punch, taking the song by the scruff before Hazel and her piano re-establish order. Nice to be shaken up once in a while.
7. Beings: If there's one thing apart from Hazel's voice that makes Lanterns on the Lake so special, it's her exceptional skill on the piano, and here she demonstrates it once again, almost without guile, like someone saying “Yeah, I can do this. So?” Almost as if it's not a big deal. Talk about self-effacing. More beautiful synth and rolling drums. Just gorgeous. Wonderful rising --- I don't know: guitar? Vocal? Synth? Just beautiful.
8. Stepping down: I think there's some scratching going on here, or maybe it's samples, but against the serene piano line it really is so effective, almost like listening to the wind howling outside on a cold night as you sit by a nice warm fire. Has a very ambient feel to it.
9. Stuck for an outline: This is where Hazel shows she can coax some real power and almost anger out of her keyboard. Violin added in from Angela Chang helps to calm the song slightly, but there's an unaccustomed bitternness in Hazel's vocal here. Powerful percussive ending that almost, but not quite, shakes the overall feeling of serenity this album gives me.
10. Inkblot: This short track takes ethereal to a new level and is an amazing if slightly muted closer.

Final result: I'm sort of sorry that I have yet to hear Until the Colours Run, as I might have been able to say this is three for three; LotL got a lot of praise for Gracious Tide.. and sometimes we know the one thing music critics love is to kick their darlings, so the negative reviews of Colours might have been some backlash, the expected thing, the reaction to the dreaded second album: we'd better trash them or we won't be cool. Or maybe it was a disappointment, I don't know. But this one certainly isn't, and leading in my case anyway on from Gracious Tide, Take Me Home it's a pretty phenomenal followup.

Rating: :hphones: :hphones: :hphones: :hphones: and a half

(Sorry; almost all the tracks on YT are unplayable in my country, so this is the only one I could get.)

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