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[Recap] August 2010

September 6, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

It has been quite the month, I must say. The blog has been busy regarding both the writer and the readers. This past month of August has given generously; there had been much to say:

  • Album of the Month
  • Close calls
  • The weaker ones
  • Armoury shipment
  • Unitopia interview
  • My personal favorites of the month

I almost feel like there was no best album for August. There were four albums that were quite good, and it’s hard to choose one over the other. But life is about making decisions, so here’s the Album of the Month:

Album of the Month: The Final Frontier (Iron Maiden)

The legends of heavy metal, Iron Maiden, released their whopping fifteenth studio album this past month. In The Final Frontier, there is a mixed influence of classic and new-age Maiden to appease as many fans as possible. It is a solid album with all-around good tracks, but there is no real standout track. This album is not as strong as earlier Maiden releases, but still worth listening to. It was only able to inch past the three other albums for Album of the Month.

Close Calls

The next three albums received the same rating as the Album of the Month, and the fact that they are all completely different albums made the choice even more difficult.

The guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert once again proves his worth to the world with the release of Fuzz Universe. Without doubt, it is an excellent guitar solo album. But then again, it is a guitar solo album, limiting itself to the single instrument. Despite all the variety of styles on this album, it can feel long and one-sided because the guitar is always the main focus. That being said, the guitar is phenomenal (as expected) and the album is a strong release.

Accept released Blood of the Nations as an attempt to return to the music scene after over a decade, and it is certainly a success. It starts off very strong, but tends to drag due to the overwhelming similarities between the songs. In my opinion, the album is simply too long for its own good. Still, it is a great listen and a welcome return for the band.

Warp Riders, the third and newest release by The Sword, is a fine addition to the band’s collection. They prove themselves as instrumentalists and musicians, the former more than the latter. There is not a great deal of depth with this album, but it is a thorough and enjoyable listen. It has earned my respect for the band, and I do hope they continue on.

The Weaker Ones

Now, these next three albums; they are definitely not contenders for the Album of the Month (one of them in particular).

Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society released their latest album entitled Order of the Black on August 12. It is a heavily guitar-based album with a highly impressive showcase. However, it just cannot hold a listener for numerous listens. All its value is upfront and in the guitar. There is simply not enough going on in this album to keep it interesting for long periods of time. Still, I would highly recommend it to fans of the band or the guitar for at least one listen.

The weakest album I have listened to this year is Apocalyptica‘s 7th Symphony, released this August. To my surprise, it is extremely generic and shallow. Despite being a band of cellists, the cello is a very weak and inconsistent presence throughout this album. There is nothing in this album that I would say is well-done. It is definitely one to avoid.

The Dawn of Reckoning is the latest album by the German power metal band, Eternal Reign. It is rather safe and conformist to the ways of the genre, but does execute well. The vocalist is quite good, but I’ve heard better. Although it is a good album, it is one I would recommend only to fans of the band or the genre.

Some Armoury Records

At the beginning of this month, I received a shipment of albums from Armoury Records via the kind folks from Earsplit. There were three of them:

  • Black RiverBlack’n’Roll
  • Proghma C – Bar-do Travel
  • VotumMetafiction

I could not listen to the Proghma C album; there is too much growling for my taste. However, the other two are solid albums.

Black River gives a handful of good hard rock tunes in their release. Black’n’Roll is a solid album, albeit rather shallow and mundane at times. It is a good album to come across, but not one to trouble yourself for. The same can be said about Votum’s progressive ambient metal album, Metafiction. It is rather standard and can be boring, even for a prog-person such as myself.

Unitopia Interview

During the month of August, I contacted Patsy Delledonne, the online manager of the stellar progressive rock band Unitopia. Despite having released only three albums, they have already become one of my favorite bands. I am truly thankful to the band, specifically Sean Timms, for the interview opportunity. Check it out:

Sean Timms of Unitopia

And if you haven’t heard their newest album, Artificial, be sure to give that a listen; it is absolutely amazing!

August Favorites

It was quite hard to choose my favorites this month, especially because much of my listening had gone to the albums I reviewed. But I’ll say it again: life is about making decisions… so, here they are.

My personal favorites of the month have been:

  • Band: Pain of Salvation
  • Album: At the Edge of Time (Blind Guardian)
  • Song: “The Big Machine” (Pain of Salvation, One Hour by Concrete Lake)

Pain of Salvation managed to make their way back to band of the month… good for them! Hopefully, there will be different bands to step up to the plate next month. But this is now, and that is then. So until then, have a great month!

There is a mixed influence of classic and new-age Maiden to appease as many fans as possible.
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