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[Recap] September 2010

As you can tell, it’s been really slow on my end here on the blog. This is largely due to the fact that I have not been overly impressed with new releases as of late, and have grown weary of all the bad things I feel obligated to say. The heartbreaking departure of Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater only added to my soulful sorrows. But there has been a few happenings this month, and they include the following:

  • Album of the Month
  • Other albums
  • My rant
  • Kamelot interview
  • My personal favorites of the month

It’s been a while since I’ve sincerely enjoyed an album, but this month delivered. The funny thing is I have not even reviewed this album yet. Still, with full confidence, I present to you what I believe is the Album of the Month:

Album of the Month: Beacons (Cloudkicker)

If you haven’t heard this album, I would strongly recommend you give it a listen. It is streaming free on Cloudkicker‘s myspace page; no risk, all reward. Also, a digital copy of the album is available for whatever price you wish to pay (no minimum), or you can buy the hard copy for ten American dollars. All of the album’s access can be done via myspace; however you wish to attain the music is up to your own preference. Beacons is an extremely intelligent listen with much long-term value. It’s subtle yet complex time signatures only add to the musical flow, as does its vast range of dynamics. There are hard-hitting guitar riffs in conjunction with atmospheric presence. All in all, this is a finely constructed, well-rounded record that is void of shortcomings. It is truly deserving of September’s Album of the Month.

Other Albums

I had high hopes for these next two albums. Neither of them were bad, but my expectations were unfortunately not met.

I’ve said this many times openly and proudly: Kamelot is among my favorite bands. However, I was rather disappointed with Poetry for the Poisoned. It’s not the change in style that set me off as it may have many fans, but it was the lack of uniqueness and standout musicianship. None of the instrumentalists truly captured me as they have inarguably been able to do so in former efforts. I would not call it a bad album, but in all honesty it’s no Black Halo.

Angra, the Brazilian power-prog band, also released a not-great, above-average album. Aqua presented similar issues as Poetry for the Poisoned; it was short on giving anything memorable or innovative. However, the execution on the album is quite fine, specifically referring to the instrumentals on “The Rage of the Waters”. The album has its moments, and I preferred Aqua to Kamelot’s latest release. Still, I was hoping for something great, and it does not compare to how I feel towards the new Cloudkicker album.

Pathetic Ranting

It can only reflect poorly upon me when I dedicate a section solely to complaining about the world given how little I actually contribute. But I would like to justify my absence from The Golden Bird, not only for the readers but for myself as well. With the continuous disappointments to my high expectations (Iron Maiden, Kamelot, Angra), I found it more strenuous and forceful to write when only pessimism would come out. The past while has been unkind in comparison to the month of July, which yielded such albums as those from Juvaliant, Labyrinth, and Blind Guardian, all of which have at least some songs on my playlist to this day.  After finding out Portnoy was leaving Dream Theater, one of my favorite and (personally) most influential bands, the music scene only weighed more heavily on my shoulders. There seemed to be no light in the future, and I could not bring myself to negatively review the new albums which I came across (including Therion and Serj Tankian).

But I have been able to gain some healthy distance with today’s misfortunes and reconnect with the ghostly warmth of less recent music, such as Pyramaze, Star One, Savatage, Nevermore, and so on. In addition, Cloudkicker‘s Beacons seemed to set me on the right track. This month yields more promise, and I hope to be able to write more regularly. There’s my pathetic ranting, and I’m sorry to be such a bitch about it.

Kamelot Interview

On a lighter note, I conducted a phone interview with Kamelot guitarist Thomas Youngblood a couple of weeks back, thanks to Earsplit for the set up. He is a kind, outspoken, cooperative individual, and I would like to thank him again for his time and courtesy. If you have the time, check it out:

CJ’s September selections

What better way to end this pitiful recap than with seeing what the absent writer has been doing while away from the site? Here it is, for those who care.

My personal favorites of the month have been:

  • Band: Nevermore
  • Album: Imaginations from the Other Side (Blind Guardian)
  • Song: “Legend” (Pyramaze, Melancholy Beast)

I’ve missed this… really! I hope the music scene treats us well this month around, and I will try to return the favor. See you all around!

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