Issue 25 - November 29, 2001


cheating the polygraph
Apr 29, 2001
dead between the walls
Written November 29, 2001

Greetings, devoted readers! I will include another edition of The Progressive News at the end of this column, so I don’t really need to say anything here. And now, the songs…

Absu – Of Celtic Fire We Are Born, The Infinite & Profane Thrones: Reader suggested black metal act, one of the few I know from my homeland. Both of these songs have raw production, but a definite sense of musicianship is there, particularly on the former. Latest release Tara is highly regarded, but I have yet to hear anything from it.

Anathema – Sleepless, A Dying Wish: A pair from their origins as one of the leading names on the British doom circuit. The former song from their first full-length Serenades points the way toward the future with its excellent melody and depressive atmosphere. The latter song from The Silent Enigma is included because Anathema is including it in an extended version on their latest tour.

Anekdoten – Where Solitude Remains, The Sun Absolute: Reader suggested Swedish progressive rock act who has released three albums over the past ten years. The former song from their debut Vemod is excellent, and features a devastating lead riif. The latter song is an instrumental with great atmosphere and smart shifts in tempo.

Anglagard – Skogsranden, Kung Bore: Another reader suggested Swedish progressive rock act. This recommendation came to me from the Opeth forum here, and some similarities in song structure (minus the heavy parts) can be heard in these lengthy compositions. Great guitar-keyboard interplay and spare yet haunting use of vocals.

Atheist – I Deny, Beyond: Reader suggested pioneering technical death metal act, one of the first to incorporate progressive influences into extreme metal. Both of these songs are from Piece Of Time, the most highly regarded of their output. Great guitar work from Rand Burkey. The band has recently reformed and should have new material coming soon.

Brainstorm – Under Lights, Maharaja Palace: One of the more underrated power metal acts out there, being much closer to Iced Earth than the warrior metal bullcrap that has dominated the genre. Former song from this year’s Metus Mortis has a great chorus, while the latter from Ambiguity deftly incorporates middle eastern influences and has a great lead riff.

Clockwork – Smile Under Sad Eyes, Design Of Enlightenment: One of my best prog discoveries of late, being on the always adventurous Sensory label. The former song is a delicate ballad with great melodies, while the latter is an excellent thirteen-minute epic that skillfully balances between prog rock and metal.

Dream Theater – Raise The Knife, Caught In Alice’s Nine Inch Tool Garden: In anticipation of the new album, here are only two of this band’s many rarities. The former is a long instrumental from the Falling Into Infinity sessions, while the latter is a slower and heavier alternate of the band’s classic Caught In A Web, taking its name from four of the most overrated bands of the 1990s.

Edenbridge – Sunrise In Eden, The Palace: I was surprised to learn that this highly praised female-fronted act had a new album out already, seeing that Sunrise In Eden was a late 2000/early 2001 release. Both of these songs have excellent arrangements, and like Nightwish they incorporate symphonic elements very nicely. Latter song available at

Elvenking – White Willow, Seasonspeech: This band’s Heathenreel is fast becoming one of the more talked about debuts of the year, being a mixture of folk and classically-influenced power metal. I’m still not completely sold on them, but the latter song is definitely original, having multilayered vocals and an excellent lead break. Former song available at

The Flower Kings – Road To Sanctuary, Sword Of God: This Swedish prog act’s reputation seems to grow with every release, and this year’s Rainmaker is no exception. The 14-minute former track has all of the band’s strengths: great guitar-keyboard interplay, warm vocal harmonies, and acoustic flourishes. The latter song is easily their most power chord heavy to date…

Greyhaven – Shards Of Sky, Cold Night By The Fortress: Another of my most pleasant recent prog discoveries, at times reminding me of a less neoclassical Symphony X, especially because of the great keyboard work. The former epic is excellent, having incredible musicianship and arrangement. The latter song is also very powerful. Too bad the band split after releasing one self-titled album.

Ivory Tower – Secret In Me, Foreboding: Reader suggested Italian power/prog metal act. Like many bands from this country, they can’t resist being overly bombastic at times. But in their case, it does make for memorable choruses and strong instrumentation, especially in the 12-minute latter track. And no trace of Rhapsody anywhere in sight… J

Jorn Lande – Sunset Station, Tungur Knivur: Two from the Norwegian workaholic (this is the fourth album he’s appeared on this year) vocalist’s solo album. The latter track emphasizes his heavy side with fierce vocals, and the former shows his gift for writing melodic rock free of cliché. Latter song (whose title refers to the Vikings) available at

King Diamond – The Storm: The man behind the makeup, impossibly high falsetto, and countless horror concept albums is set to release the long awaited sequel to Abigail early next year. This song, available at, should greatly satisfy his strong cult following, but others may be wondering if he’s merely repeating himself…

Kurgan’s Bane – Feudal Tourniquet, Just Look At Me Now: One of the better female-fronted progressive rock bands out there. The former song has a memorable vocal hook and lead melody, along with some incisive lyrics. The latter song has a strong arrangement reminiscent of Rush at times, and much better than its powerless title indicates.

Manticora – Where Forever Ends, The Twilight Shadow: Another highly underrated power metal act, when they have been mentioned it has mainly been because of their similarities to Blind Guardian, although the latter song does much to establish their own identity, with great riffs and some progressive touches. Former song from Roots Of Eternity available at

Phreeworld – Bin Laden Goes To Hell: This progressive rock act released this instrumental as a representation of our war against terrorism, and has subsequently become a popular download at Despite its timing, I think it is more experimental than an attempt to appeal to patriotic sentiment. With that said, the Taliban deserved its destruction.

Primordial – Gods To The Godless, Children Of The Harvest: Reader suggested Irish melodic death act with strong doom elements, at times sounding like both Opeth and early Katatonia. The latter song has a hypnotic lead riff and a greater use of clean vocals, and the former song, available at, is heavier but similarly strong.

Jordan Rudess – Dreaming In Titanium, Ucan Icon: Feeding The Wheel is one of this year’s best instrumental albums, here he expands on the influences he brought to Dream Theater. Both of these songs are highly inventive and feature some insane keyboard work. The latter song is the heaviest on the album, and features John Petrucci on guitar.

Sonus Umbra – The Eagle Has Landed, Doppelganger: Mexican (!) progressive rock act discovered through the stations. The latter song is an excellent instrumental featuring some great guitar-keyboard interplay, while the former song, available at, has a great melody and haunting vocals.

Stormwind – Reflections, Assassin Of Honour: Power/progressive metal act that despite having one of the most clichéd names in history, manages to rise above expectations, at least on these songs. The former song has a highly memorable chorus, and the latter features some promising guitar work, and is available at


Of course, the big story this week was the press release for Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, which has greatly raised the already massive expectations surrounding this album due exactly two months from now. Advance reports suggest that the album will incorporate every facet of Dream Theater’s sound, and one song, The Glass Prison, is said to be heavier than anything on Awake. As soon as I hear anything from the album, I’ll let you know. Then there was some disappointing news from another band with a hugely anticipated 2002 release, Blind Guardian. According to their official site, the new album will be entitled (please let this be a working title) A Night At The Opera, which I think is a huge mistake, especially since the band has already received frequent Queen comparisons that will undoubtedly become ripoff accusations if they keep the title. Iced Earth released their box set titled Fuck You Century Media…I mean Dark Genesis in Europe this week. Everything on it is previously released except the original Enter The Realm demo and a cover disc called Tribute To The Gods. Personally I think the selection is unimaginative and inappropriate for Iced Earth, but I reserve any further opinion until hearing anything from it. Another interesting 2002 project, Arjen Lucassen’s “space metal” album, also appears to coming along nicely, with Russell Allen and Dan Swano having been officially scheduled to appear. Last but not least, I want you to help one of my benefactors out, Progged Radio, a major source for this column, is conducting an album of the year poll at the following address: