Profile for Gentlegiantprog > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Gentlegiantprog
Top Reviewer Ranking: 243
Helpful Votes: 2188

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Gentlegiantprog "Kingcrimsonprog" (England)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Altered State
Altered State
Price: 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Tesseract - Altered State, 8 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Altered State (MP3 Download)
Altered State is the second full-length studio album from the British Progressive Metal Band Tesseract. It was their first album to feature Ashe O’Harra on lead vocals, it was self-produced and was released in 2013.

Since getting this album, I’ve been listening to it constantly. It has such a high replay value, and just gets better with each repeat listen. It is such an immersive, cohesive, powerful record and I wouldn’t mind going so far as to call it a masterpiece.

The album is broken down into four sections: Of Matter, Of Mind, Of Reality and Of Energy, which are themselves broken down into separate tracks. The album as a whole flows like one giant song, each of the four sections flow like one continuous song, and each track works on its own. It really is a well-developed and brilliantly executed structure.

Highlights include the powerful “Resist,” the catchy “Nocturne” and the lengthy and interesting “Singularity.”

Musically, there are beautiful shimmering clean guitar sections and a wash of hypnotic electronics subtly mixing with powerful emotive clean vocals with a real haunting quality, there are brilliant rhythmically interesting and groovy drums mingling perfectly with clever bassline, and there’s the odd section of crushing Djenty heavy guitar at the appropriate moments to top it all off. It’s a lot more subtle, intense and driving than their debut, with an almost post-rock attitude to song building. The way things weave and change fluidly makes it a really enjoyable and entertaining listen. Its a real extension and perfection of everything the band have been working towards so far. They even keep things interesting with some well-placed and non-gimmicky use of saxophones.

Overall; This album is fantastic, it’s a real step-up for the band and a defining moment for the whole movement. If you like this sort of music you’ll absolutely love this record, and if you haven’t heard of this band or album yet, I’d strongly recommend you give it a try. This is one of those rare, perfect, gems of an album that can completely captivate you and capture your imagination time and time again.


Emissaries
Emissaries
Price: 13.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Melechesh - Emissaries, 23 Mar 2014
This review is from: Emissaries (Audio CD)
Emissaries is the fourth full-length studio album by the unique Metal band from Jerusalem, Melechesh. It was released in 2006 through Nuclear Blast.

Melechesh started out with a style of music sort of close to Black Metal, but by this stage in their career have evolved into something different. There are some Blast-beats and shrieking vocals, but its more bouncy rhythms than icy-atmosphere. The songs largely revolve around big fat grooves and adventurous song structuring but give way to blistering Thrash passages now and again to keep the energy levels up. They are pretty “dynamic” in their mixture of fast and slow, loud and soft, eastern and western.

Lyrically, as on all their albums the band write about interesting historical and fictional things from their own culture (Sumerian/ Assyrian/ Mesopotamian folklore). It gives the band a nice unique angle, and it is handled in a tasteful and non-cheesy way.

Melechesh are just a really unique, incredibly interesting and talented band, and fittingly, Emissaries is a pretty interesting and talent-filled record. One of the best in their catalougue even. If you’re already a fan then you won’t be disappointed at all by the masterfully crafted collection of punchy and vicious, yet strangely accessible tunes.

Everything on this record is pure gold, but highlights include the furious ‘Ladders To Sumeria,’ as well as the menacing album-closer ‘Emissaries And The Mysterium Magnum’ and of course ‘Gyroscope,’ which is a cover of The Tea Party reworked into the Melechesh style.

Overall, Emissaries is a confident, exciting entry in the Melechesh timeline that is strong from beginning to end and highlights everything that is great about the band. Its an incredibly strong listening experience. New listener or existing fan – check it out either way, you won’t regret it!


Edge Of Thorns
Edge Of Thorns
Price: 8.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Savatage - Edge Of Thorns, 21 Mar 2014
This review is from: Edge Of Thorns (Audio CD)
1993's Edge Of Thorns is the seventh full-length studio album by the American Progressive Metal band Savatage. The album, which followed up the Streets: A Rock Opera album, sees a sort of re-imagining of the band, with former front-man Jon Olivia taking a back seat as arranger/producer/keyboardist and the introduction of new singer Zak Stevens on lead vocals. It would also end up being the final album to feature original guitarist and co-founder Criss Oliva before his untimely passing.

The album serves as a sort of musical blue-print for all the Savatage albums which would follow and is quite different sounding to the earlier work from the band. Energetic `80s USPM sounds are almost all gone, in favour of 90s Groove Metal riffs (although not as much as Handful Of Rain), heavy handed piano and some occasional Queen-esque moments.

It isn't a complete abandoning of everything Savatage had done before altogether, as there are lovely piano moments like "Exit Music" which feel a little bit like Streets and the brief "Labyrinths" which towards the end is slightly reminiscent of Gutter Ballet, but it certainly has its own identity and is clearly the beginning of a new era of Savatage. There are bright up-beat rockers that start off as power ballads like "Follow Me" and "Miles Away," and there are groovy 90s-Metal tunes like "He Carves His Stone" and "Damien." These two styles and the mixture therof really form the essence of Edge Of Thorns, and its all good stuff... If you are in the right mood for it, and not going in expecting it to sound like Power Of The Night, this is an absolutely superb album. My personal favourite song on here is the excellent Title Track, which is one of Savatage's all time best songs, as well as the bouncy Load-esque "Lights Out" which is a little out-of-place on this album, but fun nonetheless.

Zak Steven's vocal performances on this record are inspired, and you can't help but smile at some of his deliveries in tracks like "Conversation Piece" and the fantastic album-closer "Sleep." The guitar solos on Criss' swansong album are melodic and enjoyable and the solid weighty drumming from Steve Wacholz and Jon Olivia (despite not being recorded on a real acoustic drumkit) perfectly suit the band's new direction here. Overall; this is a superb record and fans of Savatage, or similar bands, should check it out. Its not their heaviest album, its not their most progressive album and its not their darkest album, but it is an absolutely rock-solid collection of well-written and fundamentally enjoyable music, and it grows on you really well with repeat listens.


Rabbit don't come easy
Rabbit don't come easy
Price: 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Helloween - Rabbit Don't Come Easy, 13 Mar 2014
Rabbit Don’t Come Easy is the tenth full-length studio album by the legendary German Power Metal band Helloween. It was released on Nuclear Blast in 2003 and named after its labored production.

This is the fourth studio album to feature singer Andi Derris, who by this point has become an essential member of the band and had unmistakably left his mark on the band’s overall sound. Markus Grosskopf lays down the bass as always while the guitars are handled by Michael Weilkath as you would expect and then-new man Sascha Gerstner. This core of musicians would solidify into a permanent line-up for the next twelve years or more. The drums are played on this album by Motorhead/King Diamond’s Mickey Dee, with the exception of two tracks featuring Metallium/Firewind’s Mark Cross.

Despite the line-up changes and problems that the band has in creating this album, it turned out to be one of the band’s better albums and is a personal favourite of mine. ‘The Tune,’ ‘Do You Feel Good,’ ‘Liar’ and ‘Just A Little Time’ have to be four of my favourite Helloween songs of all time.

The album is often talked about as being experimental due to its inclusion of a Reggae section on “Nothing To Say,” some synths on ‘Back Against The Wall’ and an eastern sounding intro to ‘Sun For The World.’ There’s also a ballad, but then there always is. Sometimes people can concentrate too much on these aspects and then make it seem as if this album is a massive departure, but in reality those who like speedy, blazing Melodic Power Metal need not fear that this is doesn’t sound like Helloween is supposed to; just listen to songs like ‘Listen To The Flies’ ‘Hell Was Made In Heaven’ or my aforementioned four favourites. In reality over half of the album is exactly what you expect of and love about Helloween, with a little bit of variety added in there too to keep things interesting.

If you want an album that is heavy in parts, melodic in parts, full of virtuosic musicianship and flashy solos, has a lot of character and is a lot of fun, then you could do a lot worse than picking up a copy of Rabbit Don’t Come Easy. Its memorable, its interesting and most of it will stick in your head for weeks.


Live in Ancient Kourion (Limited Edition 2CD+Blu-ray+DVD) [2013]
Live in Ancient Kourion (Limited Edition 2CD+Blu-ray+DVD) [2013]
Dvd ~ Iced Earth
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 15.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Iced Earth - Live In Ancient Kourion, 9 Mar 2014
Live In Ancient Kourion is a live concert Blu-Ray from the American Power Metal band Iced Earth. It was filmed at the ancient Kourion Theater in Limasol, Cyprus (a site with a 6,000-year history according to the liner notes) in 2012, in support of the Dystopia album. The line up features Jon Schaffer, Brent Smedley, Troy Steele, Luke Appleton and then-new singer Stu Block.

The career-spanning set contains 27 songs from all eras of the band’s history, in a concert that lasts around 2 hours and 35 minutes. Its pretty great value for money in that regard.

The performance is very strong indeed, with all band members putting down solid performances with no weak links. Stu capably handles the material of previous singers Matt Barlow and Tim Ripper Owens in a suitable but distinctive way. He fits the band perfectly and is immensely talented. Elsewhere; the dual guitar lines and solos are sublime and the drumming is powerful and rock-solid. If you like Iced Earth then this is a really strong and representative example of what they are all about.

Highlights include strong performances of ‘Burning Times,’ ‘Wolf,’ ‘Declaration Day,’ ‘Days Of Rage’ and ‘Dantes Inferno.’ ‘Boiling Point’ and ‘Damien’ are also especially energetic and exciting here – if you were wondering if you’d enjoy this release, then I suggest trying those two tracks out.

The stage design and the simple, tasteful lightshow in conjunction with the well-integrated use of smoke and pyro perfectly complements the band’s meaty, honest approach to Metal music. The crowd get into it and both clap and sing along on many occasions. Sometimes not only singing the words but also the guitar melodies. The concert really shows a confident band delivering their best to an appreciative crowd.

The camerawork and editing are absolutely solid, the audio recording quality and live mix are spot-on and overall this is a very strong release on both the audio and visual fronts. Sometimes you’ll get a DVD with way too many flashy transitions and cheesy editing choices, or the bass guitar missing from the mix, but a lot of care has obviously gone into making this a tasteful and musician-friendly affair. Admittedly I have seen concert Blu-Rays with better picture quality (Sabaton, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius and Hammerfall spring to mind) and here it can be a tiny bit grainy, soft-focus or washed out at times depending on the lighting conditions in the venue at the time however just because better examples exist, it doesn’t mean the picture here is anything to complain about.

In terms of bonus features there are photo galleries (4 minutes of very high resolution photos of the band and the beautiful Cypriot landscape), a 9-minute world tour story (breaking down the logistics involved such as how many guitar picks and flights the band went through) which mixes photos and graphics with interview footage, as well as the 31-minute Documentary feature “The Making Of Live At Ancient Kourion.”

The version I got comes with a slipcase in a digibook-style box which contains booklet featuring photos, credits and liner notes from bandleader Jon Shaffer. It houses the Blu-Ray version, DVD version and CD version of the concert for maximum flexibility.

The Blu-Ray specs are as follows: Region 0, Format 16:9, Audio comes in a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 or DTS HD Surround 5.1.

Overall; Live In Ancient Kourion, especially this edition, is a very worthwhile release and I whole-heartedly recommend it to fans of the band, or fans of Traditional Heavy Metal and Power Metal in general.


The Time Of The Oath
The Time Of The Oath
Price: 10.27

5.0 out of 5 stars Helloween - Time Of The Oath, 1 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Time Of The Oath (Audio CD)
1996′s Time Of The Oath is the seventh full-length studio album by the German Power Metal band Helloween. It was the second studio album with singer Andi Derris and drummer Uli Kush, and was dedicated to the memory of ex-Helloween drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg who passed away before the album’s release.

The cover artwork evokes the previous Helloween albums Keeper Of The Seven Keys and Master Of The Rings; which isn’t a bad way to think about the content within.

After the band’s classic and genre-defining Keeper Of The Seven Keys 1&2 albums, the band changed directions with Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon. Master Of The Rings saw the band stepping back a little to the direction the fans wanted while also trying new ideas as well and with Time Of The Oath, the band mix the best of the old and new styles and really nail down one of their best directions, performances and albums overall.

The album is absolutely chocked full of quality songs, some of the best in the band’s career.

There are some brilliant ragers like “We Burn” “Steel Tormentor” “Before The War” and the concert favourite “Power.” There’s the two great multi-part numbers “Mission Motherland” and the Title Track. Then of course there’s the bouncy and incredibly fun, (if a little silly) “Anything My Momma Don’t Like.”

The album may seem a little overlong at first, and some fans may be put-off by the ballads, but the overall quality of songwriting and energy of the band's performance should win over most people easily. If you like guitar solos, melodic vocals and speedy drums, then this album is really worth checking out. It may take a while to get used to, especially if you haven’t heard Derris-Helloween before, but it really rewards perseverance. No Power Metal fan should be without it.

Overall; Time Of The Oath is one of the best Helloween albums to date. It contains a good mixture of the band’s Thrashier, Slower and More Melodic material all in one package. It’s a real grower and gets better with each repeat listen.
About these ads


The Time Of The Oath by Helloween (2008) Audio CD
The Time Of The Oath by Helloween (2008) Audio CD
Offered by M&E Books-USA
Price: 18.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Helloween - Time Of The Oath, 1 Mar 2014
1996′s Time Of The Oath is the seventh full-length studio album by the German Power Metal band Helloween. It was the second studio album with singer Andi Derris and drummer Uli Kush, and was dedicated to the memory of ex-Helloween drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg who passed away before the album’s release.

The cover artwork evokes the previous Helloween albums Keeper Of The Seven Keys and Master Of The Rings; which isn’t a bad way to think about the content within.

After the band’s classic and genre-defining Keeper Of The Seven Keys 1&2 albums, the band changed directions with Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon. Master Of The Rings saw the band stepping back a little to the direction the fans wanted while also trying new ideas as well and with Time Of The Oath, the band mix the best of the old and new styles and really nail down one of their best directions, performances and albums overall.

The album is absolutely chocked full of quality songs, some of the best in the band’s career.

There are some brilliant ragers like “We Burn” “Steel Tormentor” “Before The War” and the concert favourite “Power.” There’s the two great multi-part numbers “Mission Motherland” and the Title Track. Then of course there’s the bouncy and incredibly fun, (if a little silly) “Anything My Momma Don’t Like.”

If you like guitar solos, melodic vocals and speedy drums, then this album is really worth checking out. It may take a while to get used to, especially if you haven’t heard Derris-Helloween before, but it really rewards perseverance. No Power Metal fan should be without it.

Overall; Time Of The Oath is one of the best Helloween albums to date. It contains a good mixture of the band’s Thrashier, Slower and More Melodic material all in one package. It’s a real grower and gets better with each repeat listen.
About these ads


Dark Roots of Thrash (Bonus Blu-ray)
Dark Roots of Thrash (Bonus Blu-ray)
Price: 18.27

4.0 out of 5 stars Testament - The Dark Roots Of Thrash Blu Ray, 23 Feb 2014
The Dark Roots Of Thrash is a Live Blu-Ray from the American Bay Area Thrash Metal band Testament, capturing them on the touring cycle for their Dark Roots of Earth album. It’s a 19-track, 130-minute concert video filmed on February 15th, 2013, live at the Paramount Theater, Huntington, New York. (It is also available in other formats such as MP3, Vinyl, CD and DVD).

The concert features the Chuck Billy, Eric Peterson, Greg Christian, Alex Skolnick, Gene Hoglan line-up, playing a career spanning set featuring a fine balance of tracks from the 80s like ‘Over The Wall’ and The Haunting’, modern favourites like ‘Rise Up,’ and ‘More Than Meets The Eye’ and even some tracks from the middle of their career like ‘D.N.R’ and ‘Riding The Snake.’ They play to an enthusiastic and packed audience, with a professional stage show full of banners and strobes. Best of all, the band deliver a very good performance, packing a lot of energy and umph into the delivery. Testament really seem on top of their game here, and you won’t be disappointed at all by how the band play live. They absolutely nail it.

The sound quality and mix are top-notch, delivering a crunchy, metallic sound job that perfectly suits the band, nicely balancing all the instruments and not ignoring nor overemphasizing the crowd. The visuals are good too, the camera work and picture quality are great.

The only minor let-down is that the editing is a bit too enthusiastic, and uses tricks like turning to slow motion or black and white a little too often. Its not so distracting that it’s a deal-breaker, in fact if you don’t watch concert videos all the time you mightn’t even notice, but there was something that was just “off” enough to warrant comment.

The Blu Ray specs are: 1080p, PCM Stereo, Region: All.

The version I bought came in a Steelbook, with 2CD version of the concert too.

In terms of extra footage; The music video for ‘Native Blood’ is included. There’s also a feature called ‘bonus footage’ which is an 11-minute montage of performance footage, recording, photoshoots and fans screaming, set to the tune of studio recordings of ‘Dark Roots Of Earth’ and ‘Man Kills Mankind.’

Overall; this is an excellent concert by an excellent band, and it sounds great to match. If you’ve already got the Live In London DVD, this is still worth getting due to the varied setlist, the interesting stageshow and the addition of Gene Hoglan. If you are hyper-sensitive about quirky editing jobs I’d advise having a test-watch before buying, but for everyone else the strength of the sound, look and performance make it an absolutely worthwhile release.


Clear (EP)
Clear (EP)
Price: 10.93

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Periphery - Clear, 15 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Clear (EP) (Audio CD)
Clear is a 2014 EP by the American Progressive Metal band Periphery, released between their second and third full-length albums.

The twenty-nine minute EP features seven individual compositions, each creatively directed by a separate person, each of which contain themes presented within the opening track, ‘Overture.’

If you sit there and pick it apart you can appreciate all the nice progressive touches and experimentation, equally if you like you can just take it all at face value, as another set of top-quality Periphery songs. For only containing seven tracks, there’s quite a bit of variety to be found on Clear; there’s a piano driven intro, there are two instrumentals, some catchy-single sounding material, some heavy Djenty rhythms, some nice effects-laiden guitars and some electronic ambient stuff all in there. That being said, it isn’t a sloppy mish-mash of different styles and it isn’t so experimental that it looses listenability, this is a very solid collection of great sounding tracks that all sound like Periphery.

Highlights include the catchy ‘Parade Of Ashes,’ as well as ‘Feed The Ground’ and the instrumental ‘Zero.’

Overall; Clear is a fine addition to any Periphery fan’s collection. I’d also recommend anyone who listens to Protest The Hero, Tesseract, The Safety Fire, Animals As Leaders, Monuments, Circles, Coheed & Cambria and Karnivool give it a shot too. This is a nice introduction to the band, covering sounds found from both their debut and sophomore albums, and with enough variety and personality to really sell what the band are about.


Whales And Leeches Deluxe Cd [Ltd. Lenticular]
Whales And Leeches Deluxe Cd [Ltd. Lenticular]
Price: 17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Red Fang - Whales & Leeches, 8 Feb 2014
2013’s Whales & Leeches is the third full-length album from the Portland, Oregan band Red Fang. Much like their previous album Murder The Mountain there is a mixture of Hard Rock, Stoner and Sludge sounds to be heard, and there is an emphasis on strong riffs. It ranges from being vaguely reminiscent of Kyuss to Mastodon to Neurosis on a surface level but usually within a short two-four minute rock track.

The music is kind of deceptively dense, due to its riffy nature, low vocals and raw earthy production, which may appear monotonous at first but can reveal hidden depths and great variety to those who persist, so its somewhat of a grower and may take a few listens to fully get into. Then again, with that being said it is more instant than their previous album. Really; its worth giving it that little bit of extra attention as the music is all very strong and interesting, even it if it doesn’t always jump out at you as immediately.

Stylistically, the album sees the band evening up their sound into a more cohesive whole. On previous records, they would have separate categories of songs, from more melodic cleaner tracks, to sludgy numbers, to slow Doomy numbers. On their debut for example, you could hear two different Red Fang songs and think they were from two completely different bands. On this album they mix all their styles together on each song, so tracks like ‘This Animal’ and ‘Every Little Twist’ and the brief punky Title Track are particularly interesting to listen to, and provide variety without making you sit up and ask “is this a different band?” – You can get a whiff of Blues, Hardcore or Doom all in the one track at times.

For me, the two strongest tracks are the opening two tracks, the excellent opener ‘Doen’ which contains the album’s best riff, and the catchy single ‘Blood Like Cream.’ Another highlight is the hypnotic seven-minute album centerpiece ‘Dawn Rising,’ which has some of the best vocals on the whole album.

Overall, Whales & Leeches is an interesting addition to the band’s catalogue and a logical next-step in the evolution of their sound. Its a solid album and if you usually enjoy things in this general area of the musical spectrum its worth investigating. If you are an existing fan, I suspect if you liked the track ‘Dirt Wizard’ from their previous record, you’ll really enjoy this one. If you haven’t heard the band before, but like bands like Mastodon, Kylesa, Black Tusk, Dozer or Baroness this is something you may be interested in. Its not actually all that similar to any one of those band, but it is loosely in the same ballpark as all of them.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20