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[Recap] February 2010

It’s been about a month since the blog started; I hope you all have enjoyed it. It started off quite eventful, but I found myself struggling to find discussion topics of interest. That being said, this is by no means a filler post (observe that there is no filler tag). I guess you’ll want to know what is in here:

  • Album of the Month
  • Other notable albums
  • Underground artists
  • My personal favorites of the month

At the beginning of February, I did much catching up on new album reviews. However, most of them were released in late January, so the competition for album of the month is between Rage and Mutiny Within. And the winner is…

Album of the Month: Strings to a Web (Rage)

The melodic metalcore band, Mutiny Within, had a decent release this month. And though it is clearly better than most of the genre (which I generally find flashy but musically unimpressive), it does not come close to Rage’s release. In the power metal scene, there is much hollow and poorly constructed music. Many bands seem to be clueless, simply following the firmly established guidelines. As a result, they bring nothing new and often repeat themselves in the process. Rage, however, is an exception to this group. They create their own style and branch out to other genres whenever the music demands for it. Strings to a Web is intelligent and pure. It is not meant for a quick listen, but for numerous thorough listens – an excellent choice for album of the month.

Late January Releases

There are three stellar albums that were released in late January, and I’m glad they were not in the running for February’s album of the month; it would have been a touch choice. The three are as follows (chronologically):

The newborn Norwegian progressive metal band, Aspera, released a strong debut album entitled Ripples. Its execution and performance are of high level. The only issue with the album is that it may be too familiar to other progressive metal bands for some. And though I partially agree with the statement, I think they have very unique characteristics that define them as an individual band, and I hope they prove me right with their next release.

Since the release of Mabool, the oriental progressive death metal band, Orphaned Land, has been growing in the spotlight. Though their most recent release, The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR, is not quite up to the level of Mabool, it is still an amazing album that must be heard. It is not as heavy in comparison, and tends to lean more towards the oriental influences in the music. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on preference, and music should always be listened to with an open mind. Listen to this album!

Last, but not least, is Overkill‘s Ironbound. The highly influential thrash band has been around for quite some time now, but with their most recent release, they have not been showing much decline. Yes, it is heavy and hard-hitting, but unlike a large number of thrash metal bands, this Overkill does not rely on those aspects. Their music is elevated by their creativity and instrumental ability. They are a standout band in the thrash scene, and this is not an album to be missed.

In Hiding

I had been listening to many newly discovered bands this past month. Most of them are actually quite old, I have just been out of the loop. However, a couple of them are actually not quite in the loop, but they very well should be.

Skyliner, from Jacksonville, Florida, is a progressive power metal band that has a demo out (which I reviewed here). It is much better than a lot of what’s out there, and though it is hard on mainstream ears, it is definitely a solid demo for those who can appreciate music for what it is. I would love to hear more from them.

The solo artist Eric VanLandingham is also waiting for his moment in the spotlight. I have only heard audio samples from his website, but I was very impressed. I ordered his album and will review it when it comes. Read slightly more about Eric Vanlandingham here.

Me?

What have I been doing this past month? I listened to a lot of new artists… A LOT. Most of it is progressive or power metal (often both), including Blind Guardian, Wuthering Heights, Rage, Riverside, Conception, and the list goes on. Though most of them have been amazing, there have been a few who have stood out to me.

My favorites this month have been:

  • Band: Evergrey
  • Album: Blood Mountain (Mastodon)
  • Song: “Highlander (The One)” (Lost Horizon, A Flame to the Ground Beneath)

But enough about me, what about you?

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