2009 Power/Progressive Metal ReviewDec 31, 2009 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in MusicThe Bottom Line 2009 overall was a great year for progressive metal. Next year it looks like some more solid releases.
Here is my annual Epinions Metal Review:
#1. Pantommind: Lunasense - Without a doubt Pantommind has outdone themselves. Their debut in 2005 was a fine freshman offering of progressive metal, but it could not have prepared me for this release. This album has blown me away with the steps they have taken. There are few weak moments, and the first 8 tracks will keep you listening over and over to find new things to love about the songs. The song Wolf....H christ, I'd rather purchase this one song than have the entire Dream Theater album GIVEN to me for free. Melodic, technical,
thrilling, and beautiful. This album is a progressive metal gem with punishing riffs, a mix-bag of song styles, beautiful melodies, and meaningful playing (no wankery whatsoever). A kick-in? This band is from Bulgaria, props. Album of the year. Effort, A+, Emotion, A+, Execution, A+.
#2. Cloudscape: Global Drama - I was a bit disappointed with their 2nd release "Crimson Skies," but Cloudscape has fought back to the top of the list with a more scaled back album.
This release is far more melodic than the previous and the songwriting is strong all the way through. The vocals are extremely mature and never goes out of limit. There is a great
offering of different song styles. There are tons of progressive elements without being too pretentious, such as a long song just for the sake of being long. The instrumentals are meaningful and well executed. The shining moment on this album is "Fragile," a well crafted piece of technicality, beauty and melody. Bravo!
#3. Shadow Gallery: Digital Ghosts - The death of Mike Baker put a huge monkey on this band's back, but the delivery was outstanding and a fine tribute to their fallen bandmate. All
of what Shadow Gallery has done to bring fans to their following is back on this album. The traditional layered vocal harmonies, melodies and progressive elements are in full force on this album. With Honor, Venom and Strong bring more punishing songs to the table, but they never lose control into dumb screaming, they always keep it melodic. Highlight of this album? The title track! Digital Ghost is a 9 minute piece of brilliance. There are only two complaints from this album. The first is that the lyrics are a bit ridiculous at times. Politically driven pieces like With Honor are silly. The second complaint is the new singer. Sounds like a Geoff Tate clone from Queensryche. Would've liked a little more unique voice in the band.
#4. Vision Divine: 9 Degrees West of the Moon - No Luppe? No problem. Vision Divine reunites with Labyrinth singer Fabio Lione. The album kicks off with it's finest progressive track "Letter to My Child Never Born." Fabio has a much softer voice than Luppe and struggles a little bit more with his pronunciation, but still performs with excellence. This album
feels extremely spacey and I love the pace and the production. There is one song that left me scratching my head and that is the "Killing Speed of Time," it does not fit at all in this album. The song improperly uses Fabio's soft, yet powerful voice. Great release!
#5. Redemption: Snowfall on Judgment Day - I've really come around to this supergroup band. This album finally gives me something that the previous releases have not. The vocal performance has finally stepped up to my personal liking, as well as the vocal melodies. It is lacking a bit of harmony though I have preference too, but the melodies are enough to make up. The instrumentals are what truly shine on this album. Now that the band has fused both, they deliver a powerful progressive piece. "Walls" and "Black and White World" are two of the top progressive compositions this year. The lyrics get a little silly. James LaBrie gives a guest performance on this album. Maybe he can go back to Dream Theater and tell them what emotion and melody is again.
#6. Place Vendome: Streets of Fire - Honestly, I can't quite call this progressive, since the band has seriously toned their song writing down and move into a more hard rock genre. I
don't care though, this album is chock full of fun little songs. The band has figured out a working formula and have delivered a sophomore effort that is listenable and enjoyable. The band is a supergroup of popular progressive metal bands and put together a fine album.
#7. Voyager: I Am the ReVolution - I really loved this band's debut album and their second offering UniVers was a so-so album. But out of the blue, the album finally sees the Australian progressive metal band fuse the progressive, synth, and metal elements into a release of greatness. Daniel Estrin I think has taken the right steps in the bands evolution. This release is not for closed minded people. The album at overall lacks a tad on the vocal melodies, but instrumentally the band has taken massive leaps foward. Land of the Lies, Common Ground and the title track I am the ReVolution offer the best on this album.
#8. Stratovarius: Polaris - Part one of a band without former guitarist. Stratovarius has finally returned to their former sound. Their last album was absolute crap, Timo Tolkki ends his relationship with the band, and the band finds melody again. This is actually one of the more consistent offerings since Episode and Visions. There are weak moments on the album, but Deep Unknown, Falling Star, King of Nothing and Higher We Go are gems on the album. Strato may continue moving in the right direction. Their album trumped Timo's new band Revolution Renaissance.
#9. Cain's Offering: Gather the Faithful - Jani from Sonata Arctica's new band with vocalist Timo Kotipelto and it looks like he has a winning formula. Pretty good melodies and production on this album. The strong points of the album are the instrumental portions of the songs. Overall the vocal melodies are pretty weak. Jani is a fine guitarist and understands what good instrumentals are, but the band should find it's own identity with a new singer, proper lyrics and better vocal melodies. Tons of potential with Cain's Offering.
#10. Revolution Renaissance: Age of Aquarius - Timo Tolkki has a permanent singer established in the band, so let's get rolling. Only two things really pushed me away from this
album, and that is the poor vocal melodies and awful pacing of the album. I really like the production of the album though. A couple fine moments on the album such as Ixion's Wheel and Into the Future. A lot of potential here.
#12. DGM: FrAme - A step backwards for DGM. After the incredible Misplaced and Different Shapes albums, DGM parted ways and got a new vocalist. Regardless the songwriting on this album just was not close to their previous two albums. The entire album is rather bland and very formulatic song to song. Hereafter is a nice song, as well as Not In Need and In a Movie. Not enough texture on the album. The effort though trumps that of the next two albums. I'm still excited about what DGM has to offer and I'll give them a pass on this one.
#13. Sonata Arctica: The Days of Grays - What in the hell is this crap? Unia was crap and now Tony Kakko seems bent on making more crap. Three songs save this album, the first three. Last Amazing Grays is an incredible song. After Flag in the Ground, this album falls flat on its face. The songs suck, no melody, drab, boring, crap, ect. Each song will have you about a minute in pressing the next song button. The vocal melodies are absolutely terrible. Tony sounds bored and unemotional. Remember Reckoning Night? That was a move in the right direction. I understand the band wants to move away from power metal roots into a more progressive realm, but this is not the way to do it, by jumping on the Dream Theater train of crap songwriting. I recall a song called It Won't Fade on Unia, that's a good direction. This is crap. Never thought this band would let me down this much.
#14. Dream Theater: Black Clouds and Silver Linings - I gave up on this band a long time ago, but I love nothing more than telling everyone how bad this band is. Just because you can
play really fast does not mean you write good songs, and especially lyrics. The lyrics on this album make me sick. Oh the drummer gets to sing death metal and fails miserably. The song Withered is absolutely awful. The 12 step alcohol suit is finally over and this album offers the worst chapter of it. Every song is written like "hey let's change the melody and time signature again. people will like that." Just awful, absolutely awful and repetitive. I actually love looking
forward to DT's newest release just to see how absolutely pretentious they are. I think they masterbate to their albums.
2009 Best Songs Playlist.
Pantommind - Wolf
Cloudscape - Fragile
Shadow Gallery - Digital Ghosts
Vision Divine - Letter to my Child Never Born
Redemption - Black and White World
Place Vendome - Dancer
Voyager - Land of the Lies
Stratovarius - Deep Unknown
Cain's Offering - Oceans of Regret
Sonata Arctica - Last Amazing Grays
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