Issue 29 - December 29, 2001


cheating the polygraph
Apr 29, 2001
dead between the walls
Written December 28-29, 2001

Greetings, devoted readers! I apologize for the delay, basically caused by my own laziness, and a Windows crash that I was lucky to recover from. Feel free to share your lists of Christmas music acquisitions...although I didn't get any albums (I don't let give my relatives the chance to fuck up), I had a great Christmas. This week contains a fairly heavy amount of extreme metal, so anyone who had been complaining that this column was getting soft should be content. And now, the songs...

After Forever - Imperfect Tenses, Estranged (A Timeless Spell): The Dutch act returns with a second album of symphonic doom that will satisfy anyone who was impressed with Prison Of Desire. The former song adds some operatic male vocals as counterpoint with Floor, and the latter is the album’s longest and one of its most dramatic songs.

Agalloch - She Painted Fire Across The Skyline pt. 1, A Poem By Yeats: One of the few American purveyors of melodic death, this band has received frequent comparisons with Opeth, although their sound is a little less heavy, though full of great passages with a similar prog influence. Latter song is an atmospheric instrumental, despite the title.

Alas - Silencing The Sorrow, Surmounting The Masses: Reader suggested extreme metal side project with a strange lineup including Erik Rutan (ex-Morbid Angel) and Martina Astner (ex-Therion). Their sound leans more towards the latter, featuring some strong arrangements and haunting vocals. I need to hear more from Absolute Purity before making a final judgment.

Angra - Nova Era, Running Alone: Reunion has surpassed people’s expectations, and has left the band in a favorable position as Andre Matos has yet to release the Shaman album. The latter song is a particularly strong number reminiscent of the faster songs on Holy Land, and the former attempts to be an anthem, it doesn’t quite succeed but is still an above average power metal track.

Dawn - The Knell & The World, Ride The Wings Of Pestilence: Black metal act I don’t know that much about, I’m pretty sure it’s a side project but then every BM band has one, or two, or a thousand J Anyway, these songs contain some strong riffs and both are over eight minutes, sounding a bit like early Satyricon.

Diabolical Masquerade - The Eerie Obsidian Circus, Haunted By Horror: Reader suggested extreme side project of Dan Swano and Katatonia’s Anders Nystrom, here known as Blackheim. Both of these songs from Nightwork are above average death metal with some good instrumental passages. Latest album Death’s Design is a soundtrack to an unreleased film. Both songs available at

Divina Enema - Gargoyles Ye Rose Aloft, The Face Of Oranus: Reader suggested unsigned Russian act, performing avant garde extreme metal with some bizarre instrumental and vocal arrangements a la Arcturus. Will cause you either to scratch your head or marvel at its inspired weirdness. Both songs available at

Dream Theater - Misunderstood, The Great Debate: Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence has leaked faster than any album I can remember since Horror Show, and the impressions have been mostly favorable. Both of these songs are excellent, the former being a melodic track with some great keyboard fills and an instantly memorable chorus, while the latter will surprise some fans with its lengthy soundbite-filled intro, slow and heavy lead riff, and some of James’ most aggressive vocals ever (life to save life!).

Franklin-Neumann Project - Event Horizon, Prophecy: Self-produced progressive rock act discovered through the network. Both of these songs are a little thin on the guitars but contain some strong arrangements and a spacey atmosphere, particularly the eight-minute latter song. Both tracks available at

Green Carnation - In The Realm Of The Midnight Sun, Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness: Extreme metal act featuring former members of Emperor and In The Woods. The latter track is an excerpt from an album consisting of a single hour-long track (!) and it sounds incredible, I need to order it. The former track, at a mere 14 minutes, is also highly impressive. Available at

Jorn Lande - Bridges Will Burn, Bless The Child: The incredibly versatile Norwegian vocalist wraps up 2001 with a solo album after triumphs with Ark and Beyond Twilight. Unlike his previous effort Starfire, Worldchanger is all original material and considerably heavier…the latter song borders on thrash. The former track has a great chorus.

Madsword - Tsushima, Living Hexadecimal: I know I’ve mentioned this now defunct band many times in the past, but I feel they were among the most underrated prog acts around and could have been rulers of the genre with a few more albums and greater awareness. The former song from the Evolution ep has a great lengthy closing section, while the latter is an astonishing instrumental.

Mayadome - Restorepair, Wait A Minute: Swedish prog act, well known to readers of the Perpetual Motion forums, who recently disbanded after releasing two albums of Dream Theater-inspired material. At times they take their influences too far, but both of these songs contain impressive arrangements and good guitar-keyboard interplay.

Novembre - Everasia, The Dream Of The Old Boats: Reader suggested melodic death act in the Opeth vein, although the latter song from their debut (available in its entirety at predates Orchid by one year. Their latest Novembrine Waltz has received some enthusiastic reviews, and the eight-minute former track shows why this band is deserving of greater exposure.

Pain Of Salvation - Rope Ends, Fandango: Progressive metal’s most creative band returns with Remedy Lane next month, and all signs point toward a fourth album of incredibly technical, intelligent, and emotional music. Both of these songs, which the band made available to subscribers of their newsletter, combine the best elements of their first three albums.

Paradigm Blue - Fording The Dawn, The Rain Cycle: Reader suggested progressive rock act. Both of these songs are highly impressive, although the latter half-hour long suite does tend to drag a little, but great musicianship abounds on both tracks, particularly on keyboards. Entire debut album Liquid Eyes available at

Primordial - The Soul Must Sleep, And The Sun Set On Life Forever: Irish doom metal act who has received many great reviews, particularly for their latest release Spirit The Earth Aflame. Great guitar playing and atmospheric arrangements appear on both tracks. The nine-minute latter song appears on several of their albums.

Reading Zero - Wavelength, Desensitized: I know I should apologize for featuring this band in every other issue, but I feel they are a great progressive metal act worthy of your highest level of attention, and the latter song, a demo for their next album, shows their QR/FW-inspired sound will improve over time. Former song from Satellite Sessions is a great slower track. Latter track and its great chorus available at

Saviour Machine - Abomination Of Desolation, The Stand: Christian progressive metal act known for its dramatic vocal arrangements and trilogy of albums about the apocalypse. The former song features a great lead riff, while the latter song from their earlier albums is a powerful 16-minute epic, featuring thoughtful but preachy lyrics.

Devin Townsend - Tiny Tears, Hide Nowhere: The cult surrounding him has grown with each release, and many are calling Terria his best yet. With songs like the emotionally devastating former track, it’s hard to argue, although Ocean Machine, from which the latter song hails, also has its share of supporters. Both songs feature odd but effective arrangements. Latter song available at

Transatlantic - Duel With The Devil: The prog supergroup returns with another monument or two to self-indulegence. This song goes through many sections over its 26 minutes, and contains many great moments and a memorable chorus, and Portnoy and Stolt are impressive throughout, although don’t expect any of Dream Theater’s wilder impulses…

Vanden Plas - Nightwalker, You Fly: The melodic progressive metal act returns next month with Beyond Daylight. The former opening track continues where their last album left off, and contains a great instrumental section filled with memorable guitar harmonies. Latter song is OK in its album version, but is vastly improved in a soaring rendition on Spirit Of Live…

Virgin Steele - Rain Of Fire, Conjuration Of The Watcher: Always a bit pretentious, David Defeis’ latest project is the release of two simultaneous compilation albums of early material. These however are new tracks, right? Both illustrate why this band is often referred to as “Manowar with brains” and feature great riffs and David’s always striking vocals.

Winds - In All Reflections, An Eternity Of Dreams: Once again, I seem to have forgotten exactly what the origins are of this reader suggested extreme metal side project, but I can recommend the music, which goes in a more atmospheric direction, with some clean but arresting vocals and some unexpected mood shifts…

Thus ends this chapter, and an incredible year for metal…see you in 2002!
Awesome as always Demonspell! I'm glad you put up some Divina Enema, they need to be let out!. I don't know if I initially showed them to you from the Opeth message board, but it's great you put them up here. I look forward to the next edition!