Issue 35 - March 7-8, 2002

Demonspell

cheating the polygraph
Apr 29, 2001
15,352
32
48
44
dead between the walls
www.ultimatemetal.com
DEMONSPELL'S SONGS TO WATCH
FOR YOUR LISTENING CONVENIENCE
An Alliance Production
Written March 7, 2002

Sorry for the delay last week, which was caused by unexpected circumstances that caused me to lose a large amount of information relating to my current courses...i.e. misplacing a disk. This is also my first time writing on the new Earboards community. For the time being, I will post Songs To Watch on both the music and chat forums. It is also my first column since the Progpower lineup announcement, a great collection of bands that should appeal equally to fans of power and progressive metal. And now, the songs...

Blind Guardian - The Soulforged, The Maiden And The Minstrel Knight: A Night At The Opera finally hits the stores next week, and it is a stunning album that finds BG experimenting while still retaining their trademark sound, exemplified by the former track, full of their distinct guitar sound and vocal arrangements. The latter track balances between acoustic and bombastic sections with great ease, like the best of Nightfall...

Dream Theater - The Thing That Should Not Be, Welcome Home (Sanitarium): By now, you all have heard of the surprise performance of the complete Puppets album, already in massive circulation on the Internet. The recording on this is not of professional quality (heavy crowd noise eliminating much detail), but the band plays the material incredibly precise and James does an admirable job.

Winds - Of Divine Nature, Passion's Quest: Thanks to Jim Raggi of LOTFP for premiering this album on www.seismicradio.com, a stunning work of abstract symphonic metal. Both of these songs feature powerful orchestral arrangements, melodic guitar runs, and vocals ranging from clean to a low end whisper.

Immortal - Tyrants, Sons Of Northern Darkness: The black metal veterans return this month with yet another album full of blastbeats and Scandinavian themes, and while the music is still raw, it is far more listenable and memorable than the harsh speeds of Battles Of The North and earlier albums. Former track available at www.nuclearblast.com

Threshold - Into The Light, A Tension Of Souls: A pair of tracks from the recently reissued Psychedelicatessen, which includes a live EP. The former ten-minute track is a varied composition, alternating between melodic and heavy sections and featuring some unexpected time changes. Latter track is an excellent keyboard-heavy track featuring accomplished dynamics.

Eldritch - Ghoulish Gift, To Be Or Not To Be (God): Italian band specializing in aggressive power metal with some progressive leanings, especially the lengthy keyboard solo on the latter track, which features a chorus that will stick in your head for days. Former track from Headquake shows their darker side...

Mezarkabul - Lions In A Cage, Puratu: Reader suggested Turkish (!) power metal act, also known as Pentagram, who has received many positive reviews for last year's release Unspoken. Both of these tracks are dark and aggressive, especially the latter with its dense lead riff. Former track has a memorable chorus. A band that can appeal to fans of several different subgenres...

Leviathan - The Last King Of The Highlands, So Where Is God?: Underrated progressive metal act that disbanded after three albums and one EP, all of which I think are out of print. The former track features an odd time signature and a stunning outro, while the latter from Riddles, Questions, Poetry, and Outrage (great album title) is a cynical and more metallic track.

Sieges Even - Wintertime, War: Two from Sophisticated, which doubles as an album title and an apt one word description of this defunct German tech-metal act's music. Both of these songs find the band simulatneously becoming more metallic and jazzy than earlier albums, and are loaded with impeccable musicianship. Latter track also has some very thoughtful lyrics.

Reading Zero - Amongst The Clouds, True To Form: Unsigned New England progressive metal act who landed an opening slot at Progpower 3.0 on the strength of two albums, best described as a cross between early Queensryche and recent Fates Warning. Former track from the Actual contains a stunning instrumental section edited out in another version, be sure to hear it at www.progpower.com

Sinergy - The Sin Trade, The Number Of The Beast: Nuclear Blast's recent Maiden tribute is now out, best described as a compilation of the best tracks from previous tributes (is that what we've come to, a tribute to the act of tribute?). The latter is one of the few made for the compilation, and it isn't too good, Kimberly screwing up at times. The former track however has some great guitar runs, a definite high point for a highly inconsistent band.

Esoteric - Stygian Narcosis, The Secret Of The Secret: Reader suggested British doom act specializing in long excursions into the darkest of musical landscapes, full of discordant playing, hellish atmosphere, and harsh vocals. Definitely not for everybody, but recommended for adventurous fans of extreme metal and people who complain about doom acts losing their edge...

Sculptured - Above The 60th Parallel, Snow Covers All: An act on the End's roster that sounds like melodic death played by asylum inmates, the latter featuring Maidenesque guitar runs and alternately clean and growled vocals interrupted by horns and even a whistling section! Former track is similarly bizarrely structured, like Sigh being avant garde yet retaining accessibility.

Enslaved - Convoys To Nothingness, The Sleep: Floating Diversity: Norwegian black metal act who has grown more complex with each release, their latest Monumension being an experimental "fuck the purists" outing. Latter track sounds like its title, having an atmosphere not of this astral plane, while the latter has enough intensity to satisfy BM fans and enough surprises to intrigue the adventurous BM fan.

Arch Enemy - Fields Of Desolation, Bridge Of Destiny: A pair of tarcks from the highly acclaimed metallers. The former, a leftover track included on the US version of Wages Of Sin, features their trademark devastating riffs, while the live version of the latter track shows Chris Amott's skill on guitar.

Arcturus - Starcrossed, The Chaos Path: The black metal experimentalists return next month with The Sham Mirrors, its title accurately reflecting the band's warped arrangements, especially present on both of these songs. Former song, available at www.theendrecords.com, features some menacing piano playing and haunting vocals. The highly anticipated album will also feature a cameo from Ihsahn on one track.

Theory In Practice - Colonizing The Sun, Dehumanized: Swedish technical death act whose last album The Armageddon Theories received some stellar reviews, and what I've heard of their new one is excellent, especially the former title track with its insane keyabord runs and rhythmic work. also available at www.theendrecords.com

Novembre - Nostalgiaplatz, Swim Seagull In The Sky: Italian melodic death act whose work leans in a more progressive and abstract direction, as evidenced by the former track, which has entirely clean vocals and an ethereal sound. The latter track from their Dan Swano-produced debut, available at www.mp3.com, also shows their experimental side.

Archetype - Years Ago, Premonitions: Excellent unsigned progressive metal band from Ohio, introduced to me through Progged Radio. The former track is a twelve minute composition featuring some great instrumentation and varied sections, while the latter has an awesome lead riff.

Lana Lane - Encore, Under The Olive Tree: Female vocalist best known for her work with Ayreon and the Arjen-assisted Secrets Of Astrology album. Former track from the new release Project Shangrila is a catchy piano-led track (not live as the title might suggest), while the older latter track is a well crafted ballad with a memorable chorus.

United States Of Mind - Silver Step Child, The Time Of Our Lives: A bit of a guilty pleasure, as this band formed by members of Balance Of Power after the 10 More Tales... album is melodic rock and nothing more or less, although both songs have much to recommend to them, especially the awesome guitar solo in the latter and the infectious choruses on both.

Payne's Gray - To End Infinity, Hymn To The Cats: Progressive metal act whose only full length album Kadath Decoded is a concept based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, very hard to find. The latter track has a lilting and foreboding atmosphere, while the former is heavier and features a bizarre arrangement.

Djam Karet - Web Of Medea, Night Of The Mexican Goat Sucker: Highly praissed instrumental progressive rock act often described as equal parts Floyd and Crimson who I regret not discovering earlier. Both of these songs are full of great musicianship and enthralling atmosphere, especially the latter with its intoxicating guitar runs and propulsive rhythms, and of course the undeniably great title. Available at www.mp3.com

Glass Hammer - The Conflict, Arianna: Progressive rock project with an admittedly revisionist tone, but lovers of classic prog will find much to appreciate in these songs, especially the keyboard runs in the former. Latter track is a seventeen-minute epic forming the centerpiece of their album On To Evermore, featuring lots of delicate musicianship.

Anekdoten - Sad Rain, Hole: Swedish progressive rock act with a decidedly darker edge, one of the more inventive bands in the recent history of the genre. Latter track from Vemod (left off some versions) is a melancholic compositions featuring some moments of great beauty, while the latter sounds like its title, claustrophobic and deep.

Rocket Scientists - Escape, Archimedes: Progressive duo featuring the extremely talented keyboardist Erik Norlander, best known for his work in Ayreon. Both of these songs have the same bombastic space rock feel, especially the latter instrumental with its trippy atmosphere. Former track is a ten-minute offering full of accomplished musicianship.

Thus ends this chapter...Remedy Lane sees US release this week. After you finsihing reading this and putting the songs in your download queues, run off to the record store and get this masterpiece IMMEDIATELY.