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[Recap] November 2010

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

With pride, I can say that this past November has been quite steady on The Golden Bird. There has been a fair amount and variety of posts, ranging from reviews to concerts to interviews. Here is what’s coming in this recap:

  • Album of the Month
  • The contenders
  • Late impressions
  • Nevermore concert
  • Creation’s End interview
  • My personal favorites of the Month

Thankfully, there were no bad albums this past month. However, there is one that is definitively better than the others. November’s Album of the Month is:

Album of the Month: Ancestral Romance (Dark Moor)

Ancestral Romance is the first album I have heard from Dark Moor, and it certainly left a great first impression. There is a remarkable balance within the different ways of approaching music, the different stylistic and genre-based influences, and the different levels of instrumental emphasis. Dark Moor certainly found their fulcrum point here and, as a result, were able to create a collection of varied and well-written songs. However, there happen to be a few weaker moments throughout the album. It is not the perfect album. But in the big picture, Ancestral Romance is a much appreciated gift to the symphonic power metal scene; one I would definitely recommend. From what I’ve heard, this is the best November had to offer.

The Contenders

There were three other albums I had a chance to review this month. None were bad, but (obviously) none were Album of the Month.

On November 9, the latest Place of Skulls album was released. To fans of the band or genre, As a Dog Returns is an album not to be passed. Its ability to be dynamic while staying true to the genre is remarkable. That being said, it is still a doom-stoner album. I personally found it too restricted within the confines of the genre. It is able to generate style quite well, but the instrumental execution was slightly underhanded in my opinion. From what I gather, most of what is to be enjoyed by this album comes not from the technical end but the stylistic portrayal. Because I am not all for any particular style, it does not mesh with me as well as it could. But for those who have come to love Place of Skulls or the doom-stoner metal genre, give this record a spin.

The progressive metal newcomers Creation’s End also released an album on November 9 entitled A New Beginning. It is a very strong debut album by the band. For fans of progressive/power/darker metal, this is a definite recommendation. A New Beginning has a fair deal of variety other than its consistently dark tone. The instrumentals are great and the songwriting is decent. The only real issue is that it feels a bit held back at times. I truly think the band can do better and I am most certainly hoping so in anticipation for their next release, whenever that may be.

Where Stories End is the second Darkwater release, which came out on November 12. It is a decent album, but far from an ageless one. Its major downfalls are its lack of innovation, inspiration, and variation. But on the upside, the instrumentals are good and it stays very loyal to its genre; for a progressive metal fan, it is enjoyable. Unfortunately, outside of the target community, I would not recommend this album.

October Impressions

Yes, I know I have been running late on certain things. But I have caught up on some of them, including my personal impressions of certain albums which were released last month.

Released on October 12, Dakrya’s Crime Scene is definitely a unique album. Nothing overly revolutionary is done here, but it has a fresh feel. The instrumentals are all well-done, from the saxophone to the percussion to the vocals. None are emotionally stunning or virtuoso-esque ground-breakers, but still highly enjoyable. The songwriting is rich with uniqueness and diversity, able to give numerous listens without growing stale. The only issue with the album is that there is nothing to be utterly blown away by. That being said, Dakrya has produced not only something great, but something different. To fans of Diablo Swing Orchestra, do not miss this one.

Rhapsody of Fire put out their latest release in October, an EP named The Cold Embrace of Fear. The musical content gives satisfaction to the listeners. There are some wonderful symphonic arrangements and musical passages, albeit they can be slightly overdrawn. There are reprisals of sections, but given that it is just an EP it can be repetitive. Still, the musical creation is highly appreciable. It is simply not at the level to make up for its negatives, which include its necessity for context and its over-abundant spoken word among other aspects. There are some really good and really bad choices regarding this release, balancing out to an average quality EP.

On October 25, Monster Magnet‘s latest release became available. The music on Mastermind is somewhat standard and stale. It is not of poor quality or strenuous to listen to, but it was unable to hold my interest before the halfway point. The musicianship is quite basic and mundane, while the instruments give little to be impressed with. Both the guitar and vocals are basic and merely average. The drums and bass fit the description just as well. Sometimes, the creativity and inspiration of the music itself keeps the lack of instrumental capability unnoticed. But in this case, its mediocre quality matches the ordinary instrumentals. All in all, the music does very little to cross the line that divides the stars from everyone else.

November-more

Remember, remember, the fifth of November. That date certainly rings a bell… hmmm, of course! Nevermore in Edmonton! What else could it have been. They certainly put on a great show, one I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Some bands are meant for live performances, others are not. Believe me when I say a Nevermore concert is not one to be passed up. I cannot say if it was because of the small venue size that the visuals were merely average. But the audio was amazing, and the band has a handful of loyal followers that are sure to add a great deal of liveliness to the concert. Whereas some bands may be inconsistent with their instrumental performance, Nevermore is more or less spot-on. Given what is required to be spot-on with their music, it is a truly impressive feat to experience. Also, there aren’t really any rotten sores in their discography, so it is safe to expect a good choice of songs. Whether they are in the studio or in a live venue, Nevermore is a band whose talent can only be appreciated and amazed by.

Hello Creation’s End, Nice to Meet You

Earlier this month, I had a phone interview with Rudy Albert and Dario Rodriguez of the progressive metal band, Creation’s End. Both are wonderful people and had much to say about their music. If you have the time, check it out:

My November

I have not listened to much new material this month, but what I have revisited has been pure, nostalgic bliss. Arjen Anthony Lucassen pushed his way back, as did Blind Guardian.

My personal favorites of the month have been:

  • Artist: Blind Guardian
  • AlbumInto the Electric Castle (Ayreon)
  • Song: “The Odyssey” (Symphony X, The Odyssey)

Well, that’s about it for this month. Keep warm and healthy, and I will see you all in December (hopefully at the Blind Guardian concert).


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