*prognotes – The Ocean’s Pelagial – Part I

Another *prognotes already, you ask. Well yes, aren’t you all a lucky bunch because following on from Eden’s excellent analysis of Caligula’s Horse’s 2013 opus last week, we’re back today with a look at another incredible album from the very same year. The Ocean’s Pelagial is one of the finest metal albums of the decade, an intriguing concept album that covers a journey from the surface down to the murky depths of the deep blue sea. Before getting into the meat of the matter, let’s start with some background.

*prognotes – Caligula’s Horse’s The Tide, The Thief & River’s End

If you follow this blog for more than a few months, you might have noticed that we really like Caligula's Horse. Honestly, it's one of the bands that reflect the most what a lot of our staff members like in their music. It's modern and well produced, leaning on "djent" influences. But it's also groovy, intelligent and melodic, blending progressive attention for detail with a heavy, instinct driven approach to composition. For many of us, this approach was introduced to us with their second album, The Tide, The Thief & River's End (which shall be referred to as The Tide from now on). As such, we've spoken about it numerous times on the blog: in posts celebrating its art, its music and its release.

*prognotes: The Dear Hunter’s Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise (Part IV)

We're in the final stretch! In our previous installment, our protagonist went on a huge existentialist bender, The Lover was fed up with his shit, The Pimp/Priest re-entered the story in the most garishly devious way, and The Boy decided that entering politics would be the best course of action to take down his nemesis once and for all. This final third of Act IV moves quickly and sort of papers over a lot of potential story details, presenting us with more in the way of broad strokes plot summary than introspection and character development (though there is still some of that). To be perfectly honest, though certainly fun and plenty enjoyable, I found this section to be the weakest part of the album overall because of that sense of hurtling quickly towards the album's conclusion, which presents a cliffhanger conflict that will likely come to define most of Act V. That said, there is still more than enough going on here to unpack, so let's drive straight into the belly of the beast together!

*prognotes – Fleshgod Apocalypse’s King

Welcome to another edition of *prognotes! We hinted this was coming when we looked at a few Fleshgod Apocalypse album covers, and today we’re going to be diving deep into their stellar 2016 release King. Before delving into the individual tracks, we should take a look at the overall concept of the album. Each track is from the point of view of a different member of the royal court, and to see why that’s the case here are a couple of interview excerpts with pianist/orchestrator Francesco Ferrini and lead vocalist/guitarist Tommaso Riccardi respectively: “[We] wanted a strong characterization for each character involved in the story, so we started from the idea of writing specific songs for each one… Each [character] represents, metaphorically, a different aspect of human nature… In a world that runs so fast, the King is an ideal carrier for strong values that humanity around him lost track of. Some of these values might appear old-fashioned, even outdated somehow, but nowadays, there’s too much left behind in the name of ‘progress.’ ” F.F. (newnoisemagazine) “All the other characters in the court represent the fears that can lead us to make everything worse” T.R. (decibel)

*prognotes: The Dear Hunter’s Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise (Part I)

Welcome back! In case you missed it, earlier this week I put out my initial post for this mini-series, in which I essentially brought us back up to speed to where we were in the story of The Dear Hunter and provided some thematic and historical context for Act IV. I'm not going to rehash all of that here, so if you haven't read that yet you should do so! I'll be working through the first five tracks here, so if you're ready to dive head-first into the actual music and songs of this incredible album though, let's go spelunking!

*prognotes: The Dear Hunter’s Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise (Preface In Preparation)

Greetings and salutations. It's been a while, hasn't it? When I first wrote up my interpretations of The Dear Hunter's original trilogy of Acts last summer, I had every intention of continuing that work shortly after the triumphant Act IV's release. To be perfectly honest though, writing so much about one band in the span of several weeks pretty much burned me out completely for a while. Between that and having less time these days to write in general, this project has fallen by the wayside for months. I am here to finally submerge myself once more into this wondrous musical universe, however. Before I can jump neck-deep into the nitty-gritty details of the lyrics and everything else though, there's some necessary catching up and contextual work that needs to be done. So let's dig in!

*prognotes – Uneven Structure’s Februus

Have you seen/read The Fountain? If not, you really should. The movie (and the comic book) depict a greyscaled story of consciousness, birth, death and spirituality. It's a sub-genre that's existed on the fringes of science fiction ever since Philip K. Dick wrote Valis and perhaps even before, with the darkly eerie works of H.G. Wells. In any case, these tales draw on the concepts of self-realization, actualization and psychological distress while casting all of these onto a darkly astral landscape. The aesthetic is usually austere, with the colors being utilized to stress extreme moments of passion, realization and growth. From out of the blackness rise spires of color across fantastical palettes, symbolizing inner explosions and revelations. This is exactly the type of aesthetic that informs, creates and makes possible Uneven Structure's 2011 masterpiece, Februus. It's an album which follows the birth and psychodrama of some sort of unspecified entity, from its first steps through adversity and, finally, to freedom and grace through power.