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Opeth – Pale Communion

opeth-pale-communion-review

When the announcement was made that Opeth frontman Mikael Akerfeldt was not doing harsh vocals on 2011’s Heritage, fans were instantly torn. While some embraced the idea thanks to the phenomenal Damnation, which also featured no harsh vocals, most fans were skeptic. To the discontent of many, Heritage was far from Damnation 2.0, and those hoping Pale Communion may be that album may feel let down once again. Pale Communion is not a heavy album, despite early press saying otherwise, nor is it an iteration of Heritage . Pale Communion is a logical step back to writing songs that sound like the Opeth many fans missed while clinging to the sound and feel of Heritage. Pale Communion is another entry in a relatively contained movement of regressive rock, of which artists such as Steven Wilson and Ghost B.C. have also been contributing to. A kind of throwback to 70’s prog rock that is more than just a nod to or driving influence in the music, but rather a full on attempt at recapturing a time long past.

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the devil wears prada 818

The Devil Wears Prada have evolved quite a bit since their first record. Dead Throne was a masterpiece, and one of the best metalcore albums to be recorded (fight me). They’ve already released a few singles, and now they gave us another one. And quite frankly, this blows the other two away by a longshot. Give it a listen below.

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Dream Theater have a spot in my heart as one of my favorite progressive metal bands. Though I was really upset drummer Mike Portnoy left, their album ‘A Dramatic Turn Of Events’ was actually decent, returning to their early 90’s style with more keyboards and textures. But I really want their new album to be something special. I’ve seen them live twice, and most recently on their US tour with Trivium from 2011, so when I heard they were shooting a concert DVD, I was stoked because I love those sorts of things. Check the trailer below. Honestly, it looks really sweet, and I can’t wait to pick it up. Details after the jump:

“Live At Luna Park, a live concert captured on 2DVD, Blu-ray, Digital Video, 2DVD/3CD, Blu-ray/3CD, and a deluxe edition (2DVD/Blu-ray/3CD), will drop in May 2013. To whet the appetite of their fans, Dream Theater have released this trailer.

Live At Luna Park was filmed over two nights in South America — home to one of Dream Theater’s most ardent fanbases. The DVD was filmed after a 15-month world tour, hitting 35 countries.

“This is without a doubt the closest a viewer at home will come to experiencing a live Dream Theater concert,” states guitarist and founding member John Petrucci. “Between the hi-def and 3D video, the huge audio mix and the documentary style behind the scenes footage, you are truly transported to the arena and completely immersed in the entire live experience.”

“We have the greatest fans on the planet and the people of Argentina are no exception!” adds Petrucci. “The energy and vibe at Luna Park was truly electric and contagious. The perfect synergy between band and audience. We are immensely proud of this DVD and incredibly excited to share it with everyone!””

– SS

killswitch in due time video

I think just about everyone who got into metal through the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement of the 00’s is excited for the new Killswitch Engage album Disarm the Descent. The album sees the return of original vocalist Jesse Leach, who sang on their breakout record Alive or Just Breathing. The album’s leading single ‘In Due Time‘ seemed to bring excitement to its peak, confirming that the band seemed to be reaching a new peak that the band hasn’t seen in a few years. It’s a damn catchy track, and it’s good to hear Jesse back in the ranks.

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Kvelertak

Everyone’s favorite black-n-roll band Kvelertak have been making a ton of waves around the metal world with their signing to Roadrunner Records, the incoming release of their highly anticipated sophomore effort Meir, and their single ‘Bruane Brenn’, which now has an accompanying video, which was released today. You can watch it below:

It’s a pretty cool video, replacing the band members with what appears to be 13-year-olds. It’s a strange but fun juxtaposition that highlights how much fun listening to Kvelertak is. The song is also exceptional, which helps as well. The Kurt Ballou produced Meir will be released March 26th via Roadrunner Records, and you can inevitably look for it on some of our year end lists as well.

- GR

Porcupine Tree On Hold

Porcupine Tree is easily one of my favorite bands. Their evolution from trippy space-prog to prog-metal over the past twenty years is nothing short of the workings of a musical mastermind Steven Wilson, and The Incident was a personal favorite of mine from 2009, both musically and in concept. Anyone who follows the band know that Wilson also has a flourishing solo career, and released Grace For Drowning earlier this year to widespread praise, myself included. However, as for Porcupine Tree, the day isn’t as bright.

Wilson has stated that it is on hold for the time being. Originally expected to record their new album and possibly even release it this year, Wilson has said otherwise. According to him, the biggest priority for him is his solo career, he is sick of metal, and he doesn’t know what direction Porcupine Tree will take next. Considering they went from Pink Floyd-inspired stuff to being the inspiration themselves, I’m interested to see where they go next.

“The honest answer is I don’t know. The solo career for me now is probably the most important. I think about it more than anything else, I’m more focussed on it than anything else, I enjoy it more than anything else and I’m brimming over with ideas. Whereas with Porcupine Tree, I’m not quite sure what to do with the band next. We’ve made 10 albums over a period of almost 20 years. The problem is, when you establish such a strong brand or trademark, and you spend years building it up, people expect you to become a machine, endlessly putting out an album, then touring. I promised myself many years ago that I would never ever allow myself to let this become a job. For me, it’s still about being very selfish and doing what I want to do. I know I’ve been fortunate that there seems to be enough people out there who respect me enough and still want to listen to whatever I do. Right now all my thoughts and energies are wrapped up in the excitement and the buzz I’m getting from the solo work.”

You can read the full interview here. Details as they come, per normalcy.

[via Rolling Stone India]

-SS

Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage

Gojira

L’Enfant Sauvage

01. Explosia
02. L’Enfant Sauvage
03. The Axe
04. Liquid Fire
05. The Wild Healer
06. Planned Obsolescence
07. Mouth Of Kala
08. The Gift Of Guilt
09. Pain Is A Master
10. Born In Winter
11. The Fall

[06/26/12]
[Roadrunner Records]

Barring the obvious anomaly of Slipknot, Gojira are probably one of the greatest modern success stories in metal today. Over the course of four albums and fifteen years, the band have managed to create classic albums like From Mars To Sirius and The Way Of All Flesh, all whilst maintaining a steady line-up and becoming one of those elusive bands that has an appeal to both the cold-hearted purists and the more ‘casual’ metal fan. Now, with the jump from Listenable Records to the revenue machine of Roadrunner, it’s clear that the suits saw their ability to get stronger with every release, pulling in more and more of the unsuspecting public every time with their knack for mixing elephantine riffs, proficient musicianship and huge anthemic vocals.

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If you haven’t been paying attention to the rumblings of the metalverse, then here’s some big news: Not two years after selling themselves to Warner Records and going from indie to major label, Warner decided to cut costs in a sketchy economic environment, and has cut off about 36 employees worldwide, closing offices in Europe and Canada. Roadrunner Records founder and CEO Cees Wessels has even stepped down. I think I may have a controversial opinion here, but since everyone’s talking about it and getting news otherwise would be like pulling teeth, here’s my take on the Roadrunner issue: meh, it happens.

Before I’m crucified, let me say that I do have sympathy for the hardworking people that were let go. They didn’t deserve it, and hopefully they can continue finding jobs elsewhere in the industry for other labels. They made this thing happen, and my heart really does go out to them. However, as far as the “Roadrunner” label goes, I’m not exactly shocked or sad in any way to see it being whittled away. Sure, the label was innovative and greatly important to metal and responsible for putting many great acts on the store shelves and into the commercial light. Bands like Opeth, Killswitch Engage, Rush, Cynic, Dream Theater and Death were signed to Roadrunner at one point or another, and for that, they’ll always be legendary. That said, I find it hard to be sad over this after selling out to a major label so out of touch that it was among the giant RIAA labels that decided that suing music fans was more important than evolving with the technology. I may be oversimplifying things, but if you sell your company to a bigger company, don’t be surprised when they decide to slash it to pieces. Hindsight is 20/20. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t pride himself in being very much of a capitalist at all.

The real question I have is whether or not they’d be in the same boat if they were still operating independently. I have a hard time thinking that the label that is called home to the likes of such an impressive and commercially successful roster of artists (aforementioned bands like Opeth, Rush, and Dream Theater as well as Korn, Slipknot, Lamb of God, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and money machines Nickelback) was having such a hard time making ends meet. Not only that, but the European branch of the label (which was apparently hit worse by these layoffs) was called home to bands like Periphery and Mastodon. At face value, this label theoretically should have been doing great had it not been for the selling to Warner. Who knows though? I make no claim of knowing the ins and outs of running a label and what went on behind the scenes. It’s just not at all shocking that a mainstream label took a chunk out of a relatively less commercially viable rock and metal label.

I’ll leave you with this, the statement made from founder Cees Wessels after the selling of Roadrunner was complete:

Since joining the Warner Music family, we have enjoyed some of our greatest creative and commercial successes as a label. Most importantly, we have retained our unique identity while also expanding our horizons, thanks in part to the tremendous expertise and experience we can tap into as part of the Warner Music family and the relationships we have built with our Warner Music colleagues around the world. I am very proud that Roadrunner is now a fully-fledged stable mate of such iconic labels as Atlantic , Warner Bros. Records, Elektra, Asylum and Rhino, and I believe that we are in this position thanks to our team’s hard work and consistently original approach over the years. The vast majority of our staff around the world will experience little or no change to their roles. However after carefully reviewing our operations, we have decided to transfer the support functions across to our Warner Music colleagues in some territories. This is not an easy process to undertake, but we believe that, by making these changes, we can take Roadrunner to the next level by focusing our resources on marketing our existing line-up of acclaimed artists as well as discovering the stars of tomorrow.

– JR

Finally the beast moves. Gojira have announced that their upcoming highly anticipated Roadrunner Records debut will be titled L’enfant Sauvage and will be released June 26th. Finally! L’enfant Sauvage is French for “The Wild Child.” Guitarist/vocalist Joe Duplantier explains the title:

“When you become a musician, you don’t have a boss telling you what to do so you have to be very responsible. With freedom comes responsibility so I’m asking myself, ‘What is freedom? What does it mean to me?’ L’Enfant Sauvage reflects on that. There’s no answer though. There’s just life and questions.”

Here’s the tracklist:

1. Explode
2. L’Enfant Sauvage
3. The Axe
4. Liquid Fire
5. The Wild Healer
6. Planned Obsolescence
7. Mouth Of Kala
8. The Gift Of Guilt
9. Pain Is A Master
10. Born In Winter
11. The Fall
Further news and pre-order details are expected shortly, and we’ll be sure to fill you in when they’re available. Mark your calendars for June 26th!
- JR

As you may remember, I didn’t think Korn‘s latest electronic-themed effort The Path Of Totality was too shabby. I’m sure many of you have your disagreements with my assessment, but hey, it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to. Write what I want to. Write what I want to. You would write too if it happened to you.

Painful segue an aside (sorry), Korn’s new video for album highlight ‘Chaos Lives In Everything‘ featuring Skrillex was recently released. It’s alright, I guess. It kinda looks like a Skrillex video without all the cool weird stuff going on. Man, I miss when Korn had kickass music videos. Time to go explore better times, via the YouTube time capsule.

The Path of Totality is out now on Roadrunner Records. If you cared, you would have gotten it by now, so it’s cool man.

– JR

 

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