Posts Tagged ‘same’

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

Testament’s Alex Skolnick + Eric Peterson Talk Thrash on Fox Station

Facebook: Testament Whenever a metal band gets some attention from the mainstream media without having to go on a drunken or drug-fueled rampage, we as fans definitely count it as a win for our beloved subculture. However, it’s even greater when a hilarious dichotomy is created between vanilla news anchors and metal musicians, which is what happened earlier this week (Feb. 21) when Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson of Testament stopped by a Fox news program in Michigan. Skolnick and Peterson are 2/5 of the current all-star Testament lineup, who are currently headlining the ‘ Dark Roots of Thrash ‘ tour. Shortly after filming a concert DVD in Long Island, N.Y., the duel shredders stopped by Fox 17 in Grand Rapids, Mich. to talk thrash with one of the most hilariously nerdy news anchors on the planet. The guitarists remained incredibly light-hearted during the interview, even when challenged with pressing questions such as, “What’s this thrash metal?” and “25 years you’ve been doing this. (Actually it’s 30, but who’s counting?) How do you maintain your music and not, you know, fall, you know, I guess, everything else, making you guys change the way you do your music? How do you keep it the same?” to which Skolnick replied, “It’s not the same,” while Peterson offered a more detailed answer about not allowing yourself to become too commercial. Skolnick offered some interesting insight on their live shows, noting that Testament are still bringing in young fans while keeping the old school thrashers as well. He explained, “Maybe the first time around with the band, it might have not been a show you would bring your family [to]. Now, you’ve got families coming. You’ve got kids who weren’t even born yet when our first album came out showing up with their parents who were fans back in the late ’80s or early ’90s.” Skolnick and Peterson even invited the Fox host to stage dive at tonight’s show, although the anchor politely declined. Check out Testament’s Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson’s appearance on the Fox 17 below! Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson Talk Thrash on Fox 17 [button href=”” title=”Next: Check Out Our Review and Photo Gallery From Testament’s NYC Show” align=”center”]

Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato Offers Update on Max Cavalera + Troy Sanders Project

Anna Weber / Carlos Muina / Karl Walter, Getty Images There were some eyebrows raised last year when Mastodon ‘s Troy Sanders and Soulfly ‘s Max Cavalera revealed they were working on a project together , and the anticipation level grew once it was revealed that Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato and The Mars Volta ‘s former drummer Dave Elitch were involved as well. With some time for the band to work through the specifics, Puciato has offered an update on their new album progress. He tells Noisecreep , “We have 11 songs written … We had a really easy time writing and we may actually be recording really soon, like in the next month or so. And then we’ll have to sit on it. We can’t release it right behind the Dillinger record and we also have to figure out when the Mastodon record is coming out and the same for whatever Max is doing next. It’s going to come out. It’s just going to be a matter of logistics as to when.” Puciato says the idea for the band came together when he was at a Deftones show in Los Angeles and started talking with Cavalera about their shared love for old thrash metal, punk and hardcore. He recalls, “We found ourselves referencing many of the same things and we were like, ‘F– man, we should make a record and do it together as a one-off like Nailbomb.” The Dillinger leader adds, “No one in metal makes collaborative records like people in jazz and hip-hop do. It doesn’t have to be like a band that you’re launching from the ground that you go on tour with. There is something to be said for collaboration and throwing yourself out there and learning something new from working with different people.” [button href=” ” title=”Next: Dillinger Escape Plan – Top 21st Century Metal Songs” align=”center”]

Anthrax’s Scott Ian Offers New Details on Guitarist Rob Caggiano’s Departure

Mary Ouellette, / Kevin Winter, Getty Images The departure of Anthrax lead guitarist Rob Caggiano came as a shock to the metal world, as the thrash legends had just begun to truly celebrate their comeback with classic vocalist Joey Belladonna . Having torn through the 2012 Mayhem Festival, headlined an unforgettable tour with Testament + Death Angel , earned a 2013 Grammy nomination and just finished tracking their ‘Anthems’ covers EP, Caggiano suddenly left the band, and guitarist Scott Ian has just offered some insight into Caggiano’s exit. Caggiano formally announced his departure from Anthrax on Jan. 4, revealing his desire to fixate his creativity upon producing. “The fact that Anthrax is at the top of their game right now and totally ‘out for blood’ after all these years is a testament to this band’s longevity and conviction!” states Caggiano. “I’m truly honored to have been a part of their brilliant legacy.” Although Caggiano’s exit was sudden, Anthrax assured fans that there were no hard feelings, wishing Caggiano the best with his future projects, which includes producing the new Volbeat album. Despite the brotherly send-off, Anthrax’s statement didn’t reveal any specific details about exactly how the guitarist left. In a new interview with MTV Hive , however, Scott Ian offers an explanation: We didn’t know he was planning on leaving while we were tracking this [‘Anthems’]. He was literally finishing solos in Berlin on the last days of the tour. It wasn’t until after the tour ended and we started having conversations, and just to put it in a nutshell, he just needs to do his own thing at this point in time. We knew he had a record that he was going to be doing possibly. We had already told him, if you need to take a hiatus, that’s fine. The best thing I can say is that he’s on a mission to do his own thing at this point. And I’m certainly not going to stand in his way. As for choosing Caggiano’s temporary replacement, Jon Donais of Shadows Fall, Ian says: It was actually Rob. He had already spoken to Jon and had kind of filled him in about what his plan was. He didn’t want to leave us hanging. As much as it sucks, this whole thing has been friendly. I may think Rob has made a mistake by leaving the band, but at the same time he’s my friend and I back his decision all the way in whatever he needs to do. He feels the same about us. We all know Jon. I’ve actually worked with him before on [comedian] Brian Posehn’s record. We all know he’s a great lead guitar player. And Jon said absolutely he wanted to do it. Anthrax are set to headline the 2013 Metal Alliance Tour , performing their classic album ‘Among the Living’ in full during each stop. The band will also cap off the first date of the 2013 New England Metal and Hardcore Festival . [button href=”” title=”Volbeat Prep New Album Produced by Rob Caggiano” align=”center”]

For Today Guitarist Mike Reynolds Leaves Band After Firestorm Over Anti-Gay Comments For Today guitarist Mike Reynolds stirred up quite a bit of controversy responding on Twitter about the decision of President Barack Obama choosing Rev. Louie Giglio to deliver the benediction at his inauguration. Giglio’s past anti-gay messages resulted in pressure from the LGBT community, and the Reverend has since bowed out of the opportunity. Reynolds’ commentary turned into his own views on homosexuality and religion and sparked quite a bit of outrage. After reading a Dallas Voice article on the situation, Reynolds offered a series of tweets that read, “Don’t be deceived, homosexuality is a sin. This sin with all other sins is what Jesus died for. He conquered so that we would be free. No such thing as a gay Christian, the same as there is no such thing as a Christian who loves his sin. Don’t be fooled by the formation of a state church as though the government is being converted, they only use the name Jesus for their progressive liberal agenda. If you are a Christian then separate yourself from this civil religion that advocates sin. Be true to God.” The comments sparked some outrage online, including a commentary from Enter Shikari vocalist Rou Reynolds (no relation). “The thought that we actually toured and shared the same stage as this musician in 2011 now makes me feel a bit nauseous,” said the outraged singer. “There is obviously no place in our modern metal, punk, hardcore, rock (whatever you want to call it) scene for homophobia. In fact, there should be no place for these views anywhere full stop, especially not in music.” The vocalist would add, “Music is a beautiful tool to educate ourselves with … so to anyone spouting these divisive and disgusting views, I say simply but vehemently, please educate yourself or put down your instrument.” To read Reynolds full commentary, click here . After quite a bit of backlash that resulted in a band statement and singer Mattie Montgomery’s own video apology to their fans (which can be viewed below), the For Today guitarist stepped down from the group. A statement from the band read: Mike Reynolds is no longer a part of For Today. He has decided that now is the time for he and his wife to put their plans in motion to enroll in Bible college, and to begin working toward full-time missions work in the Middle East. Mike will be replaced by longtime friend of the band, and former In the Midst of Lions guitar player, Sam Penner, who will be appearing with the band as they headline their upcoming Fight The Silence tour. Watch For Today Singer Mattie Montgomery’s Apology

Former Holy Terror Vocalist Keith Deen Dies at 56 Former Holy Terror vocalist Keith Deen has passed away at the age of 56. The metal musician was recently diagnosed with cancer and, unfortunately, Deen lost his battle with the disease. Deen lent his talents to the thrash/speed metal band Holy Terror’s 1987 debut full-length, ‘Terror and Submission’ and ‘Mind Wars’ the year after. Shortly after Holy Terror released ‘Mind Wars,’ Deen left the band, leading to the act’s eventual breakup. Guitarist Kurt Cofelt (aka Kurt Kilfelt), who founded Holy Terror after leaving Agent Steel, re-formed Holy Terror in 2005, even releasing the album ‘El Revengo’ in 2006. However, Deen declined Cofelt’s invite to rejoin the group at that time. After learning of Deen’s passing, Cofelt stated, ”With the loss of Keith Deen, a part of me is gone as well.” The webmaster of a  Holy Terror fan site posted a memoriam that serves as a touching tribute to Deen: At approximately 7:30 PM on December 15th, 2012 I was informed by my dear friend Chris Carlson from Chicago that Keith Deen of Holy Terror passed away.  He had been battling cancer since September of 2012.  Like any normal person, it blew through me like a heat wave.  My plan was to go for a walk when I got home which was where I was heading when I got Chris’ message about Keith.  So, I got home and went for my walk. A permanent piece of real estate on my iTouch is dedicated to Holy Terror as one would expect.  So, I queued up the “El Revengo” recordings and hit the pavement.  The house I bought last year is in the neighborhood I grew up in and as I walked I started to remember a younger, plump, mullet headed version of myself riding my GT Performer up and down these same streets tossing papers on porches to the same soundtrack I was listening to right now.  Sometimes it is good to relive the past, at least to a small degree. On that thought though, I am not a very big fan of nostalgia anymore.  But, some things I just can’t deny.  Keith Deen fucking ruled. Keith Deen Roared. Keith Deen Screeched. Keith Deen Yelled. Keith Deen Sang. If you listen to Both Terror and Submission & Mind Wars , you will agree that Keith Deen covered pretty much every style of vocal delivery imaginable in just those 2 albums.  I often wonder what Holy Terror as a band would have done and created if they had stayed together.  The past is the past though, and I know that the guys in the band would say the same thing. So with that I would like to speak directly to Keith….. Keith, Thank You for Roaring at me. Thank You for Screeching at me. Thank You for Yelling at me. Thank You for Singing to me. Thank you for joining Holy Terror all those years ago and giving speed metal a fresh new voice. Thank you for being the co-writer of “The Immoral Wasteland”, my all time favorite song. Thank you Keith, for being who you were. We will meet again my friend, and when that time comes, I am going to buy you a drink and ask if you would be interested in singing in my band…… We’d like to offer our condolences to the family and friends of Keith Deen. To celebrate the life and musical contributions of Deen, check out ‘The Immortal Wasteland’ from the ‘Mind Wars’ album in the player below. Holy Terror, ‘The Immortal Wasteland’ [button href=”” title=”See the Rockers We’ve Lost in 2012″ align=”center”]

As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis Remembers Suicide Silence’s Mitch Lucker

Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire / Mary Ouellette, In the wake of last week’s death of  Suicide Silence frontman Mitch Lucker in a motorcycle crash, his peers in the metal community are sharing their memories of the late singer. As I Lay Dying  frontman Tim Lambesis spoke with Kaaos TV  (watch below) about Lucker after a concert in Finland. “Mitch and I have a lot of similarities,” Lambesis said. “We grew up in the same area. We both have the same kind of dogs. He gave me very kind compliments on how when their band first started that I inspired him in some way or another, whether it be this type of stage performance he has or… I would assume more just the energy; the music sounds a bit different.” One of the similarities Lucker shared with Lambesis was the love of riding motorcycles. “I’ve been riding Harleys for four years or so, and Mitch more recently got into riding and started riding more. And again, [that was] another similarity and something we were able to [share]… As friends, it’s good to have those things in common.” “When I get home from this tour, I usually look forward to getting home and getting on my motorcycle and just going for a drive,” Lambesis continued. “I don’t know if I’m gonna really enjoy that the same way, you know?!” Suicide Silence and As I Lay Dying would have been on the road together this fall as part of the 2012 Outbreak Tour , which kicks off Nov. 16 and also features Asking Alexandria, among other acts. A candlelight vigil was held in Lucker’s memory last week in Huntington Beach, Calif. Lucker’s wife Jolie Carmadella says it’s probable the crash was alcohol related. “He was an alcoholic, and it’s been a big battle. I tried to stop him. I was in front of him begging him not to leave the house. Begging him, ‘Just seriously, for us, don’t leave,’ and he did. And this is what happened.” She added, “It’s a wake-up call. He was an amazing man. He was a wonderful father and a great husband, and now he’s gonna miss out on watching [our daughter] Kenadee grow, because he decided to drink and ride. Just don’t. Just think before you guys do something stupid. Please learn from this. Please.” Watch Kaaos TV’s Interview with Tim Lambesis [button href=”” title=”Next: Mitch Lucker’s Wife Speaks at Candlelight Vigil” align=”center”]

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