Issue 19 - October 18, 2001


cheating the polygraph
Apr 29, 2001
dead between the walls
Written October 18, 2001

Greetings, devoted readers! I know that writing recommendations may seem trivial in these days of bombing raids and anthrax scares, but I’m trying my hardest not to let my fears over current events interfere with my column, and more importantly my studies…have some tests coming up next week, whose impact on my plans will appear later on. Tomorrow is my twenty-second birthday, hence the title. I’m not getting CDs except with my own money because I don’t want any clueless relatives and friends buying my albums. This week’s column should have a good balance between prog and extreme metal, as always. And now, the songs…

Anathema – Underworld, Don’t Look Too Far: A little bit of new and old to celebrate this band’s recent addition to our forums. The latter track, available at, is one of the best from Judgement , while the latter is very indicative of their latest album A Fine Day To Exit and its mostly successful attempts to expand on their sound.

Antithesis – The Web, Consequence: This band has been frequently described as an eighties throwback, but I prefer to think of them as a traditional heavy metal act with both prog and thrash tendencies, which are prominent in the former track which possesses a great chorus (lyrically owed to Dream Theater!). The latter track from Dying For Life has some excellent solos…

Edguy – Nailed To The Wheel: I chose to spotlight only one song from Mandrake, maybe because I haven’t received it yet, maybe because advance single Painting On The Wall sucks, but also maybe because this track does a lot to distinguish itself, being the heaviest song they have recorded (following an acoustic intro) and having a kickass chorus.

Therion – Midgard, In Remembrance: Again, I elect to showcase both old and new in this entry. Despite advance press suggesting a return to their earlier sound, the former song from Secret Of The Runes could have easily fit on Deggial (that’s a good thing!). The excellent latter song is one of two non-instrumental originals from the interim release Arab Zaraq… and features a great contribution from Dan Swano.

Emperor – Empty, Depraved: The release of Prometheus and the expected retirement from the black metal pioneers is finally upon us, and very few are disappointed. Even skeptical listeners like me (I don’t care for about half of their catalogue) were very impressed with the power of these songs. Video for the latter is available at

And Oceans – Tears Have No Name, Halo Of Words: This enigmatic Finnish act is one of the more overlooked and innovative bands in extreme metal. The former song from this year’s AMGOD has one of the most addictive chorus I have ever heard in this genre, along with some great keyboards. The latter song from their debut is as good as anything from their most recent album.

Balance Of Power – Searching For The Truth, Hard Life: Melodic rock act that manages to frequently rise above the limitations of its genre, particularly on the energetic former track which closes their most recent album. The latter song adds some much-needed heaviness to their sound…

Tristania – Wormwood, Selling Out: Aside from some slight electronic elements, the title of the latter song from this year’s World Of Glass is an inaccuracy, not a warning…and one of the best songs of this highly praised operatic doom act’s career, featuring an accomplished arrangement. Fans worried about Morten’s departure should be impressed with both tracks…

Digital Ruin – Their Secrets, Of The Hand: While this progressive metal act’s debut Listen suffers from bad production and isn’t quite as impressive as last year’s excellent Dwelling In The Out, these songs do have the same dark atmosphere and powerful instrumentation. Unfortunately, their singer left the band and the newer material I’ve heard is disappointing…

Arcturus – Deception Genesis, The Bodkin And The Quietus: Perhaps the strangest black metal act ever. The former song hails from their controversial Disguised Masters album (which I haven’t heard save this song) and is a very interesting and disturbing listen. The latter track features another odd arrangement and unsettling vocals…

Leviathan – Turning Up Broken, Mindless Game Control: Prog act I don’t know too much about, but these songs are impressive enough to gain inclusion. The former eleven-minute track has some great instrumental sections, while the latter song has an effective chorus and keyboard accompaniment.

Mastermind – Perchance To Dream, A Million Miles Away: Progressive act featuring a three-guitar lineup, an impressive female vocalist (at least on Angels Of The Apocalypse, only one of theirs I’ve heard), and keyboards from Jens Johansson, whom I neglected to mention his participation in the next Ayreon project in the last news report.

Sieges Even – Epigram For The Last Straw, The Vacuum Tube Processor: Obscure yet influential technical metal act. The former track from 1991’s A Sense Of Change is one of the more beautiful pieces I have heard in the genre, and the latter song from the album Steps is almost as impressive, with some great drumming from Alex Holzwarth. Both contain some extremely intelligent lyrics.

Into Eternity – Torn, Holding Onto Emptiness: Canadian prog metal act who has opened a few shows for Nevermore in their native country, and who were in the Progpower Europe lineup. These songs are definitely worth your attention, as they have some sharp riffs and effectively incorporate heavier elements.

Rakoth – Dying Realm, Planeshift: Reader suggested extreme metal act from Russia. The latter song has one of the best atmospheric breaks I have heard in the genre, featuring a great extended piano part. The heavier sections are just as good, and the former eight-minute song indicates that this band deserves more attention. Both songs available at

Pan-Thy-Monium – Behrial, The Battle Of Geeheeb: The most bizarre of the Dan Swano projects that I’ve heard (and there are at least 8-10 I haven’t). The latter track is a twelve-minute epic that perfectly lives up to its album’s title, Khaos and Konfusion. The former song, available at, is an ambient-leaning instrumental betraying Dan’s prog tendencies.

Reading Zero – Mirage, Strategy: Reader suggested progressive metal act. Both of these songs from their album The Actual are very impressive, especially the intro and arrangement of the latter, available at The former has some great riffs and a strong chorus.

Condition Red – Life Is Now, Learning To Live: Yet another progressive metal project boasting a Dream Theater connection, Derek Sherinian appearing on the nine-minute former song, which has both male and female vocals. The latter song is impressive and catchy, but may disappoint some by not being a cover of the DT classic.

In The Woods – Child Of Universal Tongue, Empty Room: Avant-garde leaning extreme metal band who has received some Opeth comparisons, which are well justified by the complex arrangements and alterantion between clean and harsh vocals on both of these songs. Both songs from the EP compilation Three Times Seven On A Pilgrimage.

Majestic – Voodoo Treasure, The Breath Of Horus: Swedish progressive metal act who has received frequent Symphony X comparisons. The former song, available at their official site, is especially reminiscent of them, while the latter is a slower, less bombastic track. Keyboardist Richard Andersson appears on Adagio’s excellent Sanctus Ignis.

McGill-Manring-Stevens – Purging Mendel’s Beasts, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vinci: This has been a great year for instrumental albums, and this fusion trio’s Addition By Subtraction is one of the best. The latter track rises above its dumb title by having a progressive rock edge, while the former features insane bass playing from Michael Manring.

Opeth – Credence, Karma, Epilogue: Everybody knows Opeth, so why include them? Because it’s my birthday and they are one of my three favorite bands. These are three of the more overlooked songs in their catalogue, all from My Arms Your Hearse. One is a great acoustic track, one is a typically strong Akerfeldt composition, and one is an instrumental with some incredible melodies. And here’s an epilogue of my own…

Thus ends this chapter. Next week, I intend to concentrate entirely on special content, which is long overdue considering I haven’t done one besides the news reports in two months. One will be an in-depth analysis of the new Blind Guardian epic And Then There Was Silence, which has begun to circulate on the Internet. I intend to post it separately so readers (particularly those who are planning on attending Progpower USA) can avoid spoilers if they wish. The other is a Halloween special, in which I’ll include songs that I find to have disturbing, frightening, or otherwise scary, and are in the spirit of this column. I encourage readers to provide their own suggestions, following these guidelines:

The song should be relatively recent and from a non-mainstream artist.
Songs that have already appeared in this column are acceptable.
The song’s “scary” feel should be owed at least equally to the music than the lyrics.