Posts Tagged ‘mood’

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

Daily Reload: Alice in Chains, Phil Anselmo + More

Velvet Hammer – After sending fans on a word scramble yesterday, Alice in Chains have unveiled the title of their new album. [ Loudwire ] – Phil Anselmo has announced the details for the first annual Housecore Horror Film + Metal Festival for this fall. [ Loudwire ] – Get in the mood for love on Valentine’s Day by checking out our list of the Most Romantic Rock Music Videos. [ Loudwire ] – All That Remains are bulking up their tour schedule with new dates featuring Hellyeah and Nonpoint . [ Loudwire ] – Halestorm ‘s Arejay Hale admits his surprise at their Grammy win and doesn’t take the hater backlash to heart. [ Loudwire ] – Queen and Black Sabbath guitarists Brian May and Tony Iommi talk about collaborating on a record filled with Iommi’s guitar riffs. [ Ultimate Classic Rock ] – Steven Tyler and Mick Fleetwood are lobbying Hawaiian legislators for stricter privacy laws. [ Ultimate Classic Rock ] – Depeche Mode let the cameras roll for a performance clip of their latest single ‘Heaven.’ [ Diffuser.fm ] – Passion Pit have unveiled the new video for their single ‘Carried Away.’ [ Diffuser.fm ]

Within Temptation Announce 2013 Album Plans

Facebook: Within Temptation Great news for fans of Dutch symphonic rockers Within Temptation . The band has just announced that in addition to signing with a new label partner, BMG Rights, they are aiming to put out a new album in the fall. Having formed in 1996, Within Temptation have been treating fans to their signature brand of symphonic goth rock for over 15 years, with five full-length albums released within that time period. Fans of the band have shown a stunning devotion to their Scandinavian heroes, with the outfit taking home 2011 Loudwire Music Awards for Artist of the Year, Rock Album of the Year (‘The Unforgiving’) and Rock Goddess of the Year for vocalist Sharon den Adel . Within Temptation broke the good news to their fans via the band’s official website: Hi everyone, We have been, and we are still hiding in our studios since winter started. With every writing session new things are happening. We are experimenting a lot and are trying to hold on to this magical feeling. We are looking forward to the moment that we can share with you where this journey has taken us. We are excited to have found a new enthusiastic label partner, BMG Rights, with whom are aiming for a release in autumn, which perfectly fits the mood of the album. As soon as we can, we will share more information about the new album. In the mean time we will see you on the road this summer! Sharon, Ruud, Stefan, Martijn, Jeroen, Mike and Robert So far, Within Temptation have signed on to perform at three European summer festivals, but stay tuned for more dates to be announced. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/within-temptation-cover-bruno-mars-gnarls-barkley-gotye-more/” title=”Within Temptation Cover Songs by Bruno Mars, Gnarls Barkley, Gotye + More” align=”center”]

Underoath Unveil Video For ‘Sunburnt’

Solid State Records Underoath are currently finishing up the tail end of their farewell tour with plans to retire the band after a 15 year run. Leading up to their final tour, the band released a new song titled ‘Sunburnt,’ and now they are following up with a video for the tune. ‘Sunburnt’ is one of only two new songs the band included on their ‘Anthology 1999-2012’ greatest hits collection, released in November of 2012. The mind-bending video for ‘Sunburnt’ allows for a lot of personal interpretation throughout its provocative imagery. With visions that mix the internal struggles of one individual against a backdrop of stunning architecture, the mood of the official clip is largely fueled by the lyrics of the song, “ I stand before the crowd broken / I was once of this / I will never let them in, no / Won’t let them intensify / And I never took my time while I was there / I never took the time .” The video, that may very well go down as the last clip ever released by the band, was directed by drummer Daniel Davison. Davison, who has his own film and video company, has shot videos for other bands as well including Manchester Orchestra and Oh Sleeper. He also used his skills to create live video projections for his former band Norma Jean. Watch Underoath’s ‘Sunburnt’ Video [button href=”http://loudwire.com/underoath-farewell-performance-new-york” title=”Underoath Say Farewell to New York Fans With Vigorous Performance” align=”center”]

Mastodon’s Brent Hinds Says New Songs Are ‘Radioheadish and Very Spooky Sounding’

Reprise Mastodon are coming off one of their more well-received albums with ‘The Hunter’ and they’re in the mood to keep things rolling. Singer-guitarist Brent Hinds reveals that writing is currently underway on their follow-up and there’s potential that they’ll begin recording just after the start of 2013. Hinds tells MTV Hive , “We’ve never put out an album a year. That would be unlike us, so maybe we could tour for another year on ‘The Hunter.’ It’s very possible.” Mastodon is wrapping up a South American tour with the possibility that Hinds will follow with some West End Motel shows in support of their ‘Only Time Can Tell’ disc. Once that is done, Hinds says there’s a chance that a January Mastodon recording session could follow. As for the Mastodon stuff he’s been working on of late, he explains, “A lot of the stuff I’m writing is in open G-minor. I’m playing a lot of slide guitar and just getting really Jimmy Page -y on the place and getting really eerie and Radiohead ish and very spooky sounding.” Hinds says he has three songs worth of material, but he adds, “It could be one gigantic one. I haven’t made up my mind yet.” Regardless of how far along he is, he’s confident that the rest of his bandmates are also working toward the common goal of a new record. He concludes, “Those dudes are always working. There’s never really a shortage of music with Mastodon because all of us are working on something musically. I’m in good company. Just because they might [see me] stand in the middle of the stage or something, people might think this is the leader. He must conduct everything, but we’re all the leaders. We spread the weight around.” [button href=”http://loudwire.com/best-mastodon-songs/” title=”Next: Top 10 Mastodon Songs” align=”center”]

Funniest Guitar Faces

Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com Oh, the guitar face – that magical place that rockers slip off to when they’ve been totally consumed by a song and the music is in total control. While some guitarists and bassists have truly signature mugs when they rip into a song, others allow the mood of the music to uniquely fashion their fantastical facial expressions — leading to the notorious guitar face. One this for sure though, when the music takes over the faces are truly unforgettable. When the guitar is removed from the equation it offers up a whole new world of possibilities from pure exhilaration to downright carnal. Check out the photos below where we zoomed in on some of our favorite metal and rock guitar faces of all time: Jason Hook of Five Finger Death Punch: Loudwire Zach Myers of Shinedown: Loudwire Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters: Dave M. Benett, Getty Images Nick Hipa of As I Lay Dying: Loudwire Mark Tremonti of Creed/Alter Bridge: Loudwire James Hetfield of Metallica: Ethan Miller, Getty Images Joey Jordison of Murderdolls: Loudwire Scott Ian of Anthrax: Kevin Winter, Getty Images Brad Walst of Three Days Grace: Loudwire Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 Loudwire [button href=”http://ultimateclassicrock.com/funniest-guitar-faces/” title=”Next: See More Funny Guitar Faces at Ultimate Classic Rock” align=”center”]

Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne Wedding Night Playlist

Now that Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger and pop songstress Avril Lavigne are officially set to tie the knot , the Canadian lovebirds have an incredible amount of planning to do for their big day. With a seemingly endless amount of daunting tasks awaiting the bride and groom before they actually tie the knot, we've decided to give the two a bit of help to plan the wedding. Of course, we won't be lending our services to pick out flower arrangements or dresses for Avril's bridesmaids; we'll be working on the most important part of the occasion — the wedding night. It would be irresponsible for us to allow the musical duo to bump uglies without a proper playlist to set the mood, so here it is, our official Chad Kroeger & Avril Lavigne Wedding Night Playlist:

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