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[Recap] October 2010

November 5, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Slow start, fast finish: October on The Golden Bird. There was not too much to say at the beginning of the month (or maybe I just didn’t say it), but it most certainly picked up towards the end with the numerous reviews. Other than that, there has not been much else to say. It has mostly been the following:

  • Album of the Month
  • Rock releases
  • Metal reviews
  • My personal favorites of the month

For me, there has been quite a drought of stellar albums. However, October decided to treat, rather than trick me. The truly deserved Album of the Month is:

Album of the Month: Victims of the Modern Age (Star One)

After an eight year break, it is mind-blowing how Star One was able to release such an awe-inspiring album. Victims of the Modern Age is near the quality of the 2002 release, Space Metal. Though it is slightly weaker, in my opinion, its closeness to its predecessor is a spectacular statement itself. For the fans of Star One, this is a highly welcome release. But it is also a justified addition to the collection. It has the recognizable signature of the band, but also delivers a fresh sound to their style. It is definitely heavier than the first, appealing more towards the metal scene. I found the first to be more balanced and spontaneous. Still, that is not said to detract from the overall depth and creativity of this one. Is it as good as the first? No. Is it good? Album of the Month.

Rocktober

Two rock artists which I hold at high esteem released new records this month. One of them disappointed.

Joe Satriani, one of my favorite guitarists, released Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards this month. Being a big fan of Surfing with the Alien, Strange Beautiful Music, The Extremist, and other works, I happened to have unmet expectations with this album. It is not bad, but it cannot hold a candle to the aforementioned favorites. The leads are not as memorable, and the solos are not as impressive or technical, and do not have a strong Joe Satriani vibe to them. The rhythms and supporting instruments are at a similar level to the guitar work, hence creating a good album, but not great.

On the other hand, Mariusz Duda’s solo project had released a very enjoyable record. The name of the project and album are respectively Lunatic Soul and Lunatic Soul II… plain and simple. It focuses the ambient and lighter side of Duda’s primary band, Riverside, into an hour of progressive rock. It is subtle and relaxing, but layered and appreciable. Like Star One’s latest album, this one does not quite live up to the first. That being said, it is very good with enough differences to put forth a fresh experience; another great October release.

Metober Metal Releases

I got around to reviewing a handful of metal releases this month. None of them were bad, but none of them were amazing. The following four ranged from “not bad” to “pretty good”.

Amberian Dawn released their newest album entitled End of Eden. In a nutshell, they are a symphonic power metal band with a female vocalist. After a while, the vocals grow tiresome due to the one-dimensional nature. They are not bad, but simply lack the versatility to last a whole album. But the overall instrumental performance is quite well done. The most impressive are the guitar and keyboard solos, which are quite technical and give a fine listen. It is a very safe listen for symphonic power metal fans, especially those of early Nightwish.

Much praise has been thrown towards guitarist, and Firewind band leader, Gus G. On the latest release, Days of Defiance, he does not quite reach my expectations based on hype. Still, he is a very talented guitarist, and definitely on the higher end of the spectrum. But from a musician’s standpoint (instead of a guitarist/instrumentalist), the new release is nothing great. It is definitely a good listen, but not one that demands multiple plays through. It is rather standard for heavy-power metal, and the level of technicality is nothing to be overly impressed by. Nonetheless, it is a nice treat for a one-time listen.

This month, Atlantean Kodex entered the German metal scene with their debut LP, The Golden Bough. To recommend this band to fans of a specific genre would be difficult since their style is very well dispersed, drawing from a vast range of influences (mostly different sub-genres of metal). But to recommend this band to music fans is also difficult because it sits on the fence of what I would spread or not. It is a good album, and a unique one as well, but the overall quality and musical appreciation was lost on me during my few listens. The music is overdrawn with nothing to truly grip onto. Length-wise, I think at least fifteen minutes could be chopped off of the album. That being said, it was far from a painful listen, and is a solid album to listen to.

Lastly is the album Quadrant by the space-rock/stoner-metal band Astrosoniq. It was a good album with a vast range of influences, from country to industrial. Also, it used all these genres quite unique as opposed to gimmicky. However, musically and instrumentally, it was unable to hold me for the full duration of the album. It was definitely interesting, and the large handful of different influences certainly made it a worthwhile listen. But the fact remains that other than its stylistic individuality, there is not enough to sustain it in my playlist for too long. Still, it is a very strong release by Astrosoniq.

My Ear-Candy

While you were all preparing your Hallowe’en costumes for parties and trick-or-treating, I was listening to some fine music. No need for trick-or-treating when I got all the sweets on my playlist. Wanna know?

My personal favorites of the month have been:

  • Artist: Arjen Anthony Lucassen
  • Album: Space Metal (Star One)
  • Song: “Killing in the Name” (Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine)

Wow, I’ve been using the “band” the whole time when I should have been using “Artist”… that sucks. At least next month, you won’t be so caught off guard (because obviously this is a huge revelation for all of you). Until then, take care!

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