Issue 21 - November 1, 2001


cheating the polygraph
Apr 29, 2001
dead between the walls
Written November 1, 2001
Greetings, devoted readers! I humbly apologize for failing to deliver in my promise of a Halloween-themed special, which I had no time left for because of numerous educational responsibilities. My schedule is a little less hectic now, and I hope that I will be able to compensate for that cancellation by including an issue containing a majority of artists whom I have not covered yet. There are many links in this installment, a strong diversity as always with an emphasis on prog, and reader suggestions are up and have been increasingly helpful. Keep up the good work! And now, the songs…

Angra – Heroes Of Sand, Acid Rain: The reformed lineup minus vocalist and key songwriter Andre Matos (be sure to check out Looking Glass Self!) returns with the confidently titled Rebirth. These songs do point towards a promising future, as the first song, available at their official site, has a strong chorus while the latter improves upon the demo that circulated earlier this year.

Armageddon – Illusion’s Tale, Moongate Climber: Reader suggested band featuring Arch Enemy guitarist Chris Amott. I was expecting retrothrash given the band’s name and history, but was pleasantly surprised. The former song, available at, has a strong Queensryche feel to it, while the latter is a short but intricate instrumental.

Black Symphony – Never, Tears Of Blood: I decided to give this band a try after reading several reviews, and I’m not disappointed with their sound, which also reminds me of Queensryche. Different lead singers appear on the two songs. First one available at, latter at

Brave – Dark Waters, Lost In Retrospect: This female-fronted band released an album under the name Arise From Thorns last year that received several great reviews, but I haven’t heard, before electing to change their name. Both of these songs from the EP Waist Deep In Dark Waters are warmly melodic and suggest a promising future…

Cairo – Coming Home, The Prophecy: Yet another progressive rock act on the Magna Carta roster recently brought to my attention, and a particularly good discovery. The latter song has an effective vocal hook and arrangement, while the ten-minute latter composition contains a great extended instrumental intro.

Dimmu Borgir – In Death’s Embrace, A Succubus In Rapture: I’m still not a big fan of them aside from Puritanical… and I find Shagrath’s vocals to be especially annoying, but these are two of the better songs from their earlier albums, the former having an effective piano lead while the latter contains a powerful symphonic arrangement.

Enchant – Foundations, New Moon: One of my most highly regarded progressive rock acts. These songs both hail from Time Lost, an interim release containing songs the band didn’t feel fit their first two albums. Despite this intention, both songs contain the thoughtful lyrics, powerful arrangements, and excellent musicianship that appear throughout their catalogue.

The Flower Kings – Last Minute On Earth, World Without A Heart: Highly regarded progressive rock act whose current album The Rainmaker has received great reviews. I’m especially impressed with the former 12-minute song, containing a great lead riff and instrumental section with exemplary guitar/keyboard interplay. Latter song available at

Haggard – In A Fullmoon Procession, De La Morte Noire: Reader suggested symphonic dark metal act, with perhaps the largest lineup ever. Both of these suggest Therion at their most creative (with growls replacing the choirs), the latter having a dense arrangement while the former, available at, has an effective acoustic signature.

Kurgan’s Bane – Regina, The Curtain And The Rose: One of several female-fronted progressive acts who have been brought to my attention through the network. As usual with these discoveries, I have little information about them. The latter song is highly impressive, and features a great chorus while the longer former song has effective instrumentation.

Martyr – Carpe Diem, Retry Abort Ignore: Reader suggested (originating from the Nevermore forum on this site) Canadian technical death metal act. Both of these songs contain heavy and complex instrumentation (especially killer on the latter) that reminds me of Death at their best, fans of Chuck should definitely give them attention. Both songs available at

Scott Mosher – The Dreaming Eye, The Human Machine: Multi-instrumentalist brought to my attention through the stations and several encouraging reviews. The former song is divided into two parts and contains great keyboards, while the latter has a great arrangement. Very promising and ambitious for a debut release…

Mundanus Imperium – Distant Conglomeration, If The Universe Transformed: Reader suggested act whose only full-length album features the prolific Jorn Lande on vocals. These songs are excellent power/prog featuring great symphonic keyboards and powerful riffs, and of course Jorn’s vocal acrobatics. Latter song available at

My Dying Bride – Le Figlie Della Tempesta, My Hope The Destroyer: The forefathers of doom metal return with The Dreadful Hours, an album that largely stays close to their established sound. The excellent former song is a departure of sorts with its snakelike lead riff and mostly clean vocals, sounding like a cross between new and old Anathema. The latter is another quality composition that is a bit more accessible.

Odyssey – Amon Ra: Reader suggested Dan Swano project, the fifth to be featured within this column. He has only released a three-song EP under this name. This song continued in Nightingale’s progressive direction albeit slightly heavier and less melancholic. A must hear for Swanophiles, and highly recommended otherwise.

Jordan Rudess – Quantum Soup, Feed The Wheel: This has been a great year for instrumental prog albums, and this latest Dream Theater side project may prove to be the strongest one yet, as Jordan’s keyboard wizardry shines all over these songs, both over ten minutes. Guest musicians on the album include drum legend Terry Bozzio and John Petrucci.

Royal Hunt – Judgement Day, Total Recall: A mixed proposition, as this band’s weaknesses often outweigh their strengths, and The Mission suffers from some of the poorest sequencing I’ve ever seen. But both of these songs nearly save the album, the former having great vocals from John West and the latter, available at has an addictive chorus and a great instrumental break.

Solefald – Omnipolis, Hyperhuman: Experimental extreme metal act who recently signed to Century Media. The earlier song features a strong arrangement, while the latter, available at, alternates between aggressive and atmospheric sections in a short time span. The band is also known for having highly provocative lyrics.

Specter – Jackal, Temple Of Ice: Progressive metal act brought to my attention through Progged Radio. Both of these songs have a dark quality, especially the latter nine-minute track which would have been perfect for the Halloween special, and are very strong for a debut. Latter song available at

Stonehenge – Wendigo, Between Two Worlds: Hungarian (!) progressive metal act whom I became interested in after reading an encouraging review at, whose forum is hosted here. The former song has a strong chorus and arrangement, and the latter is also quite promising. Both songs available at

Under The Sun – From Henceforth Now And Forever, Perfect World: Another Magna Carta act whom I have been impressed by recently. The former nine-minute song is mostly instrumental and contains great guitar and keyboard work, again highly impressive for a debut (last time I say that this week, I promise!). The latter song is also well worth the attention of progressive metal fans.

Vintersorg – Nar Alver…, Naturens Galleri: One of many bands whom this site has recently added official forums for. More of a one-man project really, his vocals are strong enough in both of these songs that I barely notice that the lyrics are not in English. The music is also very accomplished and atmospheric melodic extreme metal.

Thus ends this chapter, and a rewarding one it has been, as many of the bands here kept me from going insane during midterm season! Keep up the reader suggestions…your responses help shape this column. No specials in the future, I still have half a semester in front of me…