Katatonia celebrate 10th anniversary of “Night Is The New Day” with exclusive live EU shows, deluxe edition of album

Katatonia are back! At least for a limited time doing a short EU tour to honor the 10th Anniversary of their classic album “Night is the New Day.” Here is the press release:

NIND19-strip-no-titles-sml

“The umbral machinery known as Katatonia is starting to make its first moves after an idle year of stillness. We will begin our return with a celebration of our album” Night is the New Day” which turns 10 years now in 2019.”

Anders Nystrom – 20th February 2019

2019 marks ten years since the release of Katatonia’s seminal Peaceville album Night Is The New Day. Now, for the album’s 10th anniversary the band & Peaceville Records are set to release a deluxe edition of this classic album on 17th May 2019; and to further commemorate this dark gem, they will return to the live arena to play Night Is The New Day in its entirety at six select club shows in Europe in May.

Mon 20th – LUX – Luxembourg -Rockhal

Tue 21st – DE – Cologne – Live Music Hall

Wed 22nd – DE – Berlin- Columbiatheater

Thu 23rd – DE -Hamburg – Gruenspan

Fri 24th – BE – Vosselaar – Biebob

Sat 25th – UK – London – Islington Assembly Hall

Tickets on sale Friday 22nd February – https://www.facebook.com/katatonia

The band’s eighth album Night Is The New Day saw a continuation of the heaviness, depth & atmosphere of their previous album, The Great Cold Distance, with the band creating a more multi-dimensional sound. Asked how he now views the importance of Night Is The New Day within Katatonia’s career, guitarist, Anders Nystrom, muses “we, and many others, look upon this album as one of the most well produced, dark and atmospheric albums within our discography. It spawned new classics with ’Forsaker’ & ’Day And Then The Shade’ that have rarely left our live repertoire. As a band, we dug deep into ourselves to deliver the epic ballad ’Departer’ as well as the folk song undertones of ’Idle Blood’, ’Inheritance’, The Promise of Deceit’ and ’Onward Into Battle’; then there is the rich contrast of dynamics in songs like ’The Longest year’, ’Liberation’, ’New Night’ and ’Ashen’ but we also slowed things down further to impending doom with the song ’Nephilim’. All of these songs glued this album together like pillars carrying the weight of both our night and day.”

The album was originally recorded at Studio Mega & Ghost Ward Studios in July 2009; co-produced, engineered and mixed by David Castillo (Opeth), with mastering by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Amon Amarth, Paradise Lost). Night Is The New Day garnered praise not only from the worldwide media but also from their peers, with Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt stating “Night Is The New Day is ‘possibly the greatest ‘heavy’ record I have heard in the last 10 years… it truly is a masterpiece!”

The 10th Anniversary edition of Night Is the New Day will feature new cover artwork from long-time Katatonia collaborator Travis Smith, be available for the first time in glorious hi-res 5.1, created by Bruce Soord, with sleevenotes and new interviews with Anders Nystrom & Jonas Renske by renowned journalist Dom Lawson.

EBVILE019-800-sml

Posted in modern prog, progressive metal | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dream Theater – “Distance Over Time”

xpr5xqsCNk_exfEUYPVwsolyQtX4qFkpVIhvc0yNjRcAfter the controversial album “The Astonishing,” it makes perfect sense for Dream Theater to get back to the basics. “The Astonishing” was initially an album that sounded good to me overall but with a poor story line and too much filler, the album is not aging well for me (I’d give it a 5/10 at this point). I am one of the people that actually gave the album a fair chance. And that’s the problem with DT fans, they are an unforgiving bunch (not all of course).

So regardless of whatever I say here, there are people who will say “they haven’t been good since _____” or “as long as it’s not ‘The Astonishing’ I’ll check it out” or worse “I stopped listening to them back in ____.” Not many bands keep so many ex-fans around! Ok enough fucking rambling.” What about the new album? “Distance Over Time” is heavier, tighter and one of the best SOUNDING Dream Theater albums they have ever done. People have heard the first three tracks on the album by now and they are a fair representation.

But there’s more. “Barstool Warrior” is a killer song with an awesome hook and ranks as a classic DT song. “Room 137” features lyrics from Mike Mangini and has an infectious riff and vibe that DT really has never done. Similarly, “S2N” has an odd structure and a shitload of riffs. Plus it marks the second lyric from John Myung, with the great “Fall Into the Light” being the other. Even the ballad “Out of Reach” is different than DT usually does.

Speaking of lyrics, after the last album, it’s nice to have 4 different lyricist on this one. None of the lyrics sound cheesy and some are quite good! “Room 137” and “Pale Blue Dot” are both excellent examples. Musically though, the band sound VERY energized and are in full attack mode. The mix by Ben Grosse is one of the best the band have had. Anyone who complains about Mangini’s drum sound now is just Portnoy in disguise.

Even the bonus track “Viper King” is a good tune. It’s shorter (as are most tracks) and reminds me a little of Deep Purple, albeit on steroids. It’s a solid end to a solid effort. While “The Astonishing” wore out its welcome with me, “Distance Over Time” is one of those Dream Theater albums that’s easy to listen to. Each track has a clear identity and each one stands on its own. That all said, I am sure people will complain but hopefully not after actually listening to “Distance Over Time”…all the way through…more than once.

Rating: 9.5/10

Tracklist:

    1. Untethered Angel
    2. Paralyzed
    3. Fall into the Light
    4. Barstool Warrior
    5. Room 137
    6. S2N
    7. At Wit’s End
    8. Out of Reach
    9. Pale Blue Dot
    10. Viper King (Bonus Track)

Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 22 February 2019
Website: www.dreamtheater.net

Posted in progressive metal | Tagged | Leave a comment

O.R.k – “Ramagehead”

018933Is it possible for me, as a huge fan of P@ Mastelotto, to give an objective review? Probably not but I’m going to do it anyway.

Consisting of band members Lef: vocals, keys (Obake, Berserk!), Carmelo Pipitone: guitars (Marta Sui Tubi), Colin Edwin: bass (Porcupine Tree) and Pat Mastelotto: drums (King Crimson), the band has released it’s third album “Ramagehead”. In my head, the two previous efforts “Inflamed Rides” and “Soul of An Octopus” were fantastic. I found myself wondering if they could do a decent follow up. You know, the infamous 3rd album that draws the most criticism, that can make or break a band? So now I’m listening and song one is playing… Not overly impressive. “Kneel To Nothing” seems a bit “Seattle-Grungy” to me but still decent. A nod to Soundgarden perhaps? Let’s continue…

“Signals Erased” has a great proggy intro. This one has me engaged. The guitar work is Frippy in a Discipline meets Thrak sort of way and then creeps into a heavy rhythm. I think we’ve got something here. Actually I would expect nothing but brilliance from these stellar musicians and here we have it. “Beyond Sight” is a beautiful tune reminiscent of a very cool David Sylvian song. “Black Blooms” is a highlight for me on this album. Haunting piano mixed with Serj Tankian’s (System Of A Down) fantastic vocals are enough to make me want to buy this album. The build up on this song is monstrous!

“Time Corroded” and “Down the Road” are simply angelic. The acoustic guitar work on this album is amazing. Despite a questionable intro song, this is exactly what I would expect from O.R.k. I’m heavily into moody and slightly dark music and O.R.k ‘ORkhestrates’ this very well. So now we have a two part song “Some Other Rainbow” with the jazzy/fusion rock “Strangled Words’ sandwiched in between them. The ending stretch reverberates another Sylvian-esque vibe.

I had to give the opening track “Kneel to Nothing” another listen. In the context of the album as a whole I can see where this tune would fit on the record although I wouldn’t open with it. I feel like they should have first established the feel of the album before venturing off into Chris Cornell land. Maybe it’s just me.

All in all, the album is well worth a purchase. Progressive energy with acoustic psychedelia and some intense ambient electronica makes me give this album a 9/10. But of course, P@ can do no wrong in my book.

Label: Kscope
Release Date: 22 February 2019

Website: www.orkband.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/O.R.k.band

Posted in avant garde, modern prog, progressive metal, progressive rock | Leave a comment

Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess Announces New Solo Album ‘Wired For Madness’

Here’s the press release for the upcoming solo album by Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater:


unnamed

Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess will release his brand new spiralling and stunning solo album ‘Wired for Madness’ on April 19 via Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group.

‘Wired for Madness’ bursts and flows forth with all of the drama, technique and melodicism that have become his musical hallmarks, the album also features the keyboard wizard handling many of the vocals. Renowned guests include drummer Marco Minnemann, Dream Theater frontman James LaBrie, guitarists Vinnie Moore, Guthrie Govan, Joe Bonamassa and John Petrucci. There are appearances by notable players including drummers Rod Morgenstein and Elijah Wood among others.

He dispels any notion that it’s a concept album. “It is not a concept album, however the title track, does have a story that I was envisioning while writing it. The idea was about a guy who wanted to go about a transformational process involving becoming partially computerized and robotic. His functionality as a human was noticeably diminishing and he takes advantage of a modern medical procedure to “upgrade ‘and extend his physical and mental capabilities. Through the course (or curse) of this process he becomes more and more separated from the outside “normal” world, allowing the computer front end to take over much of his day to day tasks and decisions. This leaves his mind free to travel between madness and spiritual enlightenment. After an angel visited him, the listener is left wondering whether he is experiencing true enlightenment or if he is moving out of the physical world to the next dimension.”

“There’s even some blues!” Says Rudess, “’Just Can’t Win’ is a dirty blues song! The Dream Theater guys call me Blues Man because, at 8AM, after sleeping on the tour bus, I sound like a reincarnation of an old blues man soul. I called in Joe Bonamassa and a full brass section to help make this song really happen. For my prog fans, this is Jordan Rudess in an alternate universe!”

Jordan Rudess has been the full-time keyboardist with Dream Theater, since the recording of 1999’s ‘Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory’. Beyond Dream Theater, he has released a number of acclaimed solo works and has also blazed a trail in helping to evolve the art and science of keyboard controllers. He created the successful App development company Wizdom Music, which has developed award-winning apps including; MorphWiz, which won the first ever Billboard award for Best Music Creation App. Wizdom Music has also built apps for Intel, Microsoft and RIM.

Rudess just keeps absorbing and processing what happens around him into new music and ideas. “I live to be creative. Give me my space and freedom to do my music and I’ll be like an antenna to the thoughts and feelings around me. Of course I get inspired by other music I hear. Could be anything from wild Electronica, like Richard Devine or Aphex Twin to classical music like a beautiful Chopin Nocturne.”

It all started with a curious mind and a furious set of little hands. He has gone to change the world of music in many wondrous ways, and his latest solo release is the next dynamic chapter in a book that’s still being written.
unnamed(1)
Track Listing
1. Wired For Madness – Part 1
2. Wired For Madness – Part 2
3. Off The Ground
4. Drop Twist
5. Perpetual Shine
6. Just Can’t Win
7. Just For Today
8. Why I Dream

Posted in progressive metal | Tagged | 1 Comment

Avantasia – “Moonglow”

moonglowI’m fairly new to Avantasia in the grand scheme of things. Ghostlights was my first exposure and I loved it, so I dug into the back catalog. I googled Tobias (which the google suggestions filled in a question asking what his net worth was… really? People are googling that?) and looked into other things he has done. I’ve tried a couple of Edguy albums but haven’t been able to get into those much. So, Avantasia it is!

With this album, he brings back some of the same cast members from previous outings, all of whom do stellar work. You get Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids), Jørn Lande (Everywhere), Mille Petrozza (Kreator), Candice Night (Blackmore’s Night), Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Eric Martin (Mr. Big), Bob Catley (Magnum), and Michael Kiske (Helloween, Place Vendome). Pretty darn epic line-up there. Let’s see what this gets us…

Ghost in the Moon starts us off in the full on Avantasia, metal opera style (read: Meat Loaf at his most theatrical, except with power metal thrown in. Closest Meat Loaf has ever gotten to this is Bat Out of Hell 3). Very piano driven. Big sing-along chorus with a huge choir. This is starting things off on the right foot and honestly sounds like it should be a closing track. If it were any other artist, this WOULD be the epic finale. So it is pretty amazing to have this as the first song. But thankfully, things stay pretty awesome.

Book of Shallows is more of a rocker… well… let’s just say the pedal gets pushed to the floor here… and we get our first guest vocalists in Hansi, Ronnie, Jørn, and Mille. All delivering the goods. We get some thrashiness kicking in as well, giving the song some definite edge. Definitely one of the heavier songs on the album. Good track.

Moonglow is where our first ballad of the album comes in (using the pedal analogy, we back off from 100mph (last song) down to 30 before jumping up to 50 for a bit) with a chorus that sort of brings to mind Nightwish’s Amaranthe. This duet between Tobias and Candice is awesome. Tons of melody and harmony.

Up next, the first single released for this album, The Raven Child, is also the longest track. Found it odd to be the first single and I’m sure most of you have heard it by now but, if not, check it out below. It starts off slow with orchestration and vocals before kicking into a larger, full band sound. Also has one of the catchiest choruses on the album. And I really dig the chorus of Gregorian chant style vocals toward the end. Monster track. Hansi and Jørn (in his full on David Coverdale fashion) turn in another awesome performance, as well as Tobias.

Starlight with Ronnie, is another rocker with a great little riff to carry it along as well as another singalong chorus. Again, a staple of Avantasia songs.

Invincible and Alchemy… man… brace yourselves here. These next two tracks define epic. Together they are a perfect one two punch of what we have been missing from Queensryche for a long time (I do love the current incarnation with Todd but if you ever wondered what might have been, wonder no more. This is what I like to think Queensryche would be sounding like if they had stayed together and progressed in a better musical direction). Guess it goes without saying at this point, but this is our first taste of Geoff Tate and it is awesome. Invincible reminds me of Queensryche’s Someone Else, stylistically. Hearing Tate like this again brought a smile to my face. And it’s cool that it’s a duet with him and Tobias. They work well together. This segues nicely into Alchemy. The second song with Tate and it is a progressive rocker with a big chorus. Another fantastic track. I honestly got goosebumps with these two track together. I have played these into the ground.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn jumps back into the power metal and not so much the theatrical nature here, so not one of my favorites but it is still a good song. Atkins, Lande, Eric, Bob, Tate, and Tobias. Great mixture.

Lavender is back to the theatrical power ballad with the big choir in the chorus. Bob back on this one again. Another good track.

Requiem For A Dream closes us out with another power metal extravaganza. Good song, but again, straight up power metal isn’t really in my wheelhouse. Michael shines here, though.

Ok. So that last track doesn’t close the album out. We get a cover of Maniac, which is good, but i found it an odd way to end the album. Really surprised this isn’t a bonus track. But there IS a bonus track called Heart on the deluxe version. So i am really not sure what is going on with these as I don’t have the booklet or story to see where they fit.

Regarding the bonus track, that wasn’t part of this review copy. So not sure about that one. I looked up the different editions on the Nuclear Blast site, and the regular edition is $10 and the digi-pack with the extra track is $22. So that’s basically $12 for a slightly less than 4 minute song. Seems a bit excessive. I’m a bit of a completest and will usually order the special edition to have all the tracks, but this one fell outside of my acceptable, self imposed, spending limit. But if you want it and can do it, go for it!

Upon my first listen, I initially thought this would have been an 8-8.5 for me. But the more I listened and the more it grew, I have settled on 9/10. It truly is a great album.

Rating: 9/10

Tracklisting:

1.    “Ghost in the Moon”            9:51

2.    “Book of Shallows”             5:00
3.    “Moonglow”                3:56
4.    “The Raven Child”            11:16
5.    “Starlight”                3:38
6.    “Invincible”                3:07
7.    “Alchemy”                7:28
8.    “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”    7:20
9.    “Lavender”                4:30
10.    “Requiem for a Dream”            6:08
11.    “Maniac” (Michael Sembello cover)    4:31

12.    “Heart” (bonus track)             3:45

Release Date: February 15, 2019

Label: Nuclear Blast
Posted in cinematic metal, power metal, progressive metal | Tagged | Leave a comment