Posts Tagged ‘first’

Dream Theater – The Astonishing

While here at Heavy Blog we usually err on the “for its own merit” side of the album/career debate, choosing to focus on an album’s singular traits rather than its place within a band’s discography, this would be a mistake here. While  The Astonishing , one of the most anticipated albums of the year, is certainly a departure from everything  Dream Theater has been giving us in the past few years, it’s also a return to several key sounds from the beginning and middle period of their career. Even that departure requires an understanding of the bigger picture of their trajectory; to depart from something, you need to understand something. And so, the first thing that is immediately apparent when the first real track (that is, not the intro) of  The Astonishing begins to play is: this is a rock opera. When the second track begins to play, something else becomes immediately apparent: the main touchstone for this album within the extensive Dream Theater discography is  Six Degrees of Inner  Turbulence . That spring in the step, that hopeful and cheery outlook, screams of that intricate album, the closest the band have come to a rock opera in the past. Yes, OK, but is it  a good album ? That’s what we’re all here to find out. In two words: yes and no. In more than that,  The Astonishing  contains some amazing tracks, possibly the best the band have produced since the lukewarm  Octavarium  trickled into our ears. When the tracks are playing, it’s impossible to resist how downright energetic this album is. At these moments, the cheesiness is perfectly balanced with that old-school  Rush  feel that Dream Theater have always been famous for and things work. They work really well in several points: on “Lord Nafaryus” for example, LaBrie delivers the intricate villain role with brilliant precision, doing things with his voice that he never has, as far as register and delivery goes. The artificial strings blend perfectly with the over the top piano, accentuated by signature guitar bridges from Petrucci. This cohesion is perhaps one of the best marks of a good Dream Theater album: when they work together, instead of playing against each other, they sound best. The slightest, cheesy touch from Petrucci near the end really closes the deal, making this one of the best tracks on both albums. This track is followed by two more excellent iterations of this new-fangled sound: “A Saviour in the Square” is epic to the exact degree needed, with a splash of horns to spice things up. LaBrie returns to more conventional grounds and reminds us that, regardless of personal taste, he is one of the most consistently excellent singers in the industry. Personal note time: when “When Your Times Has Come” kicks in, the next track down the line, I get teary eyed. This song is cheese to the maximum degree, but Rudess has chosen old school synth effects, with a wink to Kevin Moore perhaps, and LaBrie executes beautifully. This is “Hollow Years” territory: you know it’s cheesy rock but it just touches something within you and it works. Which brings us to the major defect with the album. Honestly, what band can expect to release 33 tracks and get that perfect balance between emotional propensity and technical achievement? Even Dream Theater, one of the most veteran and influential bands operating today, can’t pull it off.  The Astonishing  is replete with filler tracks, songs that really have no right existing other than an obscure parts they play in this (rather underwhelming) story that the album attempts to tell. And that’s not enough: cliche guitar parts mix with over-sweetness in LaBrie’s voice and bounce off the most cliche lines that Rudess can make from his keyboards. And they’re repetitive as well. There’s no reason for “Act of Faythe”, one of the cheesiest songs ever made by Dream Theater, to exist when a track like “The Answer” exists as well. There’s supposedly a common theme being iterated upon here but it’s not interesting enough to carry the tracks forward. Nor are the ways in which the band iterate upon it interesting in anyway: they include shifting the mood just a bit to give it a lighter or darker spin and nothing else. All of these flaws extend to the second “CD” as well, and then some. “A Life Left Behind” for example is a track which could have come right out of  Awake but it’s successor, “Ravenskill” is completely pointless, taking too much time with its intro and failing to deliver when the main theme is introduced. Since the flow between the tracks, a famous trope of progressive records, has been completely abandoned here in favor of the “track by track” structure of rock operas, the second CD is hard to pin down and connect to the first. By the time you’ve reached it, so many filler tracks have gone by without a clear approach to thematization that the thread is almost impossible to grasp. The narrative has been completely lost and every track, even the good ones, start to sound the same. That’s no accident: even the good tricks utilized on this album are the  same old tricks  that we know from this album itself and from past entries in the Dream Theater discography. While the overall style of the album is new, in that it taps into tropes that were only lightly present in their careers so far, the track progression is the same tried and true method. OK, we’ve saved the best (worst) for last. Sharp-eyed readers might have noticed that we haven’t mentioned two current members of the band. The first, John Myung, might not surprise anybody; his absence, both in sound and words, from the band is a thing of legend by now. On  The Astonishing , or at least on the copy that we of the press received, he is almost 100% missing. Whether in the mixing or in the recording, the bass was completely swallowed by the other instruments and is completely absent from the final product. However, now we come, here at the end, to the most egregious and unexplainable flaw in this record: Mike Mangini. Throughout the album, Magini displays an almost impressive amount of disinterest in what’s going on around him. The drums line are not only performed in a lackluster way, they also sound as if zero effort was put into their writing. We  know  Mangini is a talented drummer but that talent is nowhere to be found here: obvious fill after obvious fill churn out under paper thin cymbals and pointless kick drums, ultimately amounting to nothing much. There’s literally no moments on the albums that are worth mentioning for their drums and this infuriatingly frustrating, given what we know of  his obvious ability. At the end of the day, when you put all of the above together, you get a disappointing album. If this had just been a bad album, we could have chalked it down to age, momentum and being out of touch. That’s impossible though, since when the album is good, it’s really quite good. If only it had been cut to about ten tracks and purged of the incessant repetitions, it might have been the best Dream Theater album in years. Instead, it’s a puerile attempt at a grand gesture that ultimately falls on its face, caught too close to the sun with wax spilling over, giving all its features the same, bland, indecipherable structure. ? Dream Theater – The Astonishing gets… 3/5

Anathema to Support HIM On Upcoming US Tour

It wasn’t until last year’s co-headlining tour with Alcest that UK doom turned art rock band Anathema toured North America for the first time ever. It wasn’t a tour to miss for sure, and we urged everyone to see it; after all, if it took them this long to get here to begin with, who knows when they’ll be back? Turns out, they aren’t wasting much time hitting Stateside again, because they’ll be supporting HIM next month. Here are the dates, few as they may be: 3/07 – Los Angeles, CA @ House Of Blues 3/08 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues 3/09 – San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore 3/12 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues 3/13 – Cleveland, OH @ House Of Blues 3/14 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza 3/15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre Of Living Arts 3/16 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza 3/18 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage 3/19 – Orlando, FL @ House Of Blues 3/20 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution 3/24 – New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues 3/25 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues Nothing close to home here, but lets see if we can get some photos! – JR

SYSTEM OF A DOWN Drummer Discusses The Possibility Of A New Album

For the first time since 2005, System of a Down aren't ruling out the possibility of a new record at all. According to Blabbermouth.net, in a recent interview with drummer John Dolmayan and bassist Shavo Odadjian, Dolmayan said: We are going to make a new album at a certain point, it's just a matter of …

Stone Sour’s ‘Do Me a Favor’ Makes Concert Debut in Tucson

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Stone Sour  showcased their upcoming ‘House of Gold & Bones Part 2′ disc by performing the new single ‘Do Me a Favor’ live for the first time at a concert in Tucson, Ariz., this week. The group chose to break out the track this past Tuesday (Feb. 12) during their stop in Tucson on their current North American trek with Papa Roach . The band has been heavily promoting the ‘ House of Gold & Bone, Part 1 ‘ album on their touring, but with ‘Do Me a Favor’ breaking the ice and ‘ House of Gold & Bones Part 2 ‘ arriving in April, look for potentially more songs to work their way into Stone Sour’s festival sets in the coming months. Stone Sour recently released ‘Do Me a Favor’ as a digital single, with plans for a music video to soon follow. In the interim, the group has posted a lyric video for the track to keep fans occupied. ‘House of Gold and Bones Part 2′ is due in April. Meanwhile, the group’s current North American tour winds up this weekend in Denver. Watch Stone Sour’s First Live Performance of ‘Do Me a Favor’ [button href=”http://loudwire.com/corey-taylor-new-stone-sour-albums-favorite-childhood-swear-words-more/” title=”Next: Corey Taylor Discusses ‘House of Gold & Bones’ Album Creation” align=”center”]

Most Romantic Rock Music Videos

YouTube (3) Love … it’s a powerful emotion and one that many rock stars have lamented about over and over in song for years. Whether it be passion, romance or heartbreak, there’s no doubt that love makes the music world go around. Love offers so much creatively for artists to express through music … and in some cases, music videos, as well. Along with our partner sites Ultimate Classic Rock and Diffuser.fm , we have compiled a list of the most romantic rock music videos. And there’s no doubt you’ll feel your heartstrings tugged by the likes of Evanescence , Buckcherry and Guns N’ Roses , among others. So let’s start spreading a little love around by clicking the red button below to see our first romantic rock music video. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/evanescence-bring-me-to-life-romantic-rock-music-videos/” title=”See the First Romantic Rock Video” align=”center”]

Most Romantic Rock Music Videos

YouTube (3) Love … it’s a powerful emotion and one that many rock stars have lamented about over and over in song for years. Whether it be passion, romance or heartbreak, there’s no doubt that love makes the music world go around. Love offers so much creatively for artists to express through music … and in some cases, music videos, as well. Along with our partner sites Ultimate Classic Rock and Diffuser.fm , we have compiled a list of the most romantic rock music videos. And there’s no doubt you’ll feel your heartstrings tugged by the likes of Evanescence , Buckcherry and Guns N’ Roses , among others. So let’s start spreading a little love around by clicking the red button below to see our first romantic rock music video. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/evanescence-bring-me-to-life-romantic-rock-music-videos/” title=”See the First Romantic Rock Video” align=”center”]

GWAR Announce Second Leg of U.S. ‘Fate or Chaos’ Tour With Warbeast + Wilson

Praise be to our intergalactic lords and masters of GWAR , as the alien metallers have announced a second leg of their ‘Fate or Chaos’ tour. The string of U.S. dates will be shared with the bands Warbeast and Wilson, who will open for GWAR during the 16-date tour. GWAR launched their ‘Fate or Chaos’ tour in late 2012, bringing DevilDriver, Cancer Bats and Legacy of Disorder along for the ride, resulting in a solid bill of acts. The quality continues this April when the traveling freak show begins again. GWAR front freak Oderus Urungus put down his crack pipe for a moment to lend us his thoughts about the future dates: As you humans amuse yourself with your mundane holidays, it has been a time of intense activity for GWAR, as we record our 13th studio album– the first one with our new Scumdog brother, Pustulus Maximus! We begin this years festivities with the second and final leg of our Fate or Chaos tour, so everybody who missed the first leg can see Cyber-Jesus get his f—ing ass handed to him. Then it’s back in the studio to work on all the hulking war machines we shall need on our devastating, brand-spanking new tour, after the album drops at the end of the summer! Can you believe I said drop? How f—ing stupid! Warbeast vocalist Bruce Corbitt also shared his excitement about the tour: This will be the second time Warbeast has toured with GWAR.  I have to admit, I’m even more excited this time around. GWAR is more than a metal show… it’s a metal experience. We’re just happy to be part of that experience again for a few weeks. We also can’t wait to play our new material from our upcoming second album ‘Destroy’ in front of their insane fans! Stay tuned for upcoming news on GWAR’s next album and check out the new ‘Fate or Chaos’ tour dates below. GWAR 2013 ‘Fate or Chaos’ Tour Dates: 04/10 – Tucson, Ariz. – Rialto Theatre 04/11 – San Diego, Calif. – House of Blues 04/12 – Las Vegas, Nev. – Hard Rock Cafe – The Strip 04/13 – Ventura, Calif. – Majestic Ventura Theatre 04/14 – Reno, Nev. – Knitting Factory 04/15 – Salt Lake City, Utah – The Complex 04/16 – Grand Junction, Colo. – Mesa Theater & Club 04/17 – Englewood, Colo. – Gothic Theatre 04/18 – Lincoln, Neb. – Bourbon Lounge 04/19 – Des Moines, Iowa – Wooly’s 04/20 – Tulsa, Okla. – Cain’s Ballroom 04/21 – Little Rock, Ark. – The Rev Room 04/22 – Nashville, Tenn. – Marathon Music Works 04/23 – Greenville, S.C. – The Handlebar 04/24 – Orlando, Fla. – Beacham Theater 04/25 – Jacksonville, FL – Free Bird Live [button href=”http://loudwire.com/decibel-magazine-tour-2013-must-see-metal-concerts/” title=”See the 2013 Must-See Metal Concerts” align=”center”]

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