Orphaned Land – “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs”

Orphaned_Land_-_Unsung_Prophets_&_Dead_MessiahsOrphaned Land are one of those bands that I keep trying with mixed success. The Israeli band are immensely talented so that’s never the problem for me. They mix their trademark “Oriental Metal” with progressive metal, symphonic metal and even a bit of death metal. They’re back with “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” which comes almost 5 years after their last album “All is One.”

The last album really was a disappointment for me. I suppose that expectations were high after the Steven Wilson produced “The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR” which was the album that caught my attention (along with many others). “All is One” sounded forced and the concept behind it just left me a bit cold. “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” has a concept which definitely works for me. Through out history, mankind has always assassinated the person who embodies peace. It’s a pattern that has yet to be broken and it makes for a good focal point for this album.

Another issue with the last album for me was that I didn’t find the songs to be quite as good as the album prior. The band had lost founding guitarist Matti Svatitzki , so I thought perhaps that was part of the reason.  And now the band has also lost the other founding guitarist. All this change can effect a band’s chemistry for sure but on “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs,” the band seems to have gelled. The music is stronger than the last album and they as epic sounding as ever.

The album has a couple of epic tracks: the 8 minute plus opener “The Cave” and “Chains Fall to Gravity.” “The Cave” sounds epic musically, very symphonic. However, I am not keen on the overdone backing vocals. Choirs are fine for some but I think it sounds cheesy here. Vocalist Kobi Farhi proves he is still one of the best vocalists in the business. I like the atmosphere on “Chains Fall to Gravity” a lot. It’s both grand and yet beautiful at the same time.

Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kursch guests on “Like Orpheus” which is awesome. I love Blind Guardian and Hansi adds a nice dynamic when combined with Farhi. It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. As I have said many times, I am not a fan of spoken word and over use of samples. That said, the sample at the start of “Take My Hand” works well to start the song which has a soldier like march to it.

“Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” has not made me a big fan of the band but I do think it’s a step in the right direction. Is it as amazing as “The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR”? No. Is it better than “All is One”? Definitely. I do enjoy what Orphaned Land brings musically to the table even if I find some of the lyrics to be a bit off. “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” is not a masterpiece but a solid album by talented band.

Rating: 7/10

Tracklist:

1. The Cave
2. We Do Not Resist
3. In Propaganda
4. All Knowing Eye
5. Yedidi
6. Chains Fall To Gravity
7. Like Orpheus
8. Poets Of Prophetic Messianism
9. Left Behind
10. My Brother’s Keeper
11. Take My Hand
12. Only The Dead Have Seen The End Of War
13. The Manifest – Epilogue

Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 26 January 2018
Website: www.orphaned-land.com

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Sendelica – “The Cromlech Chronicles II”

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Sendelica are a progressive/psychedelic rock band from Wales, and they have been making music as a unit since 2006.

They are yet another band that I had never heard of until the ProgBoss offered me a release of theirs to review. Perhaps because, like the others, they are there and I am here.

The album I was given to review is called The Cromlech Chronicles II. (A cromlech, by definition, is a tomb.)

Spooky. This release is comprised of two epic tracks, Ripples of the Megaliths and Even Though My Mouth is Silent. Those are two tomb – worthy titles.

The music is dark, quiet and moody. At times the spirits of Steven Wilson and King Crimson are invoked. The tracks are mostly instrumental with an occasional female vocal that adds to the mysterious atmosphere brought forth.

And though both songs are lengthy, they did not seem overly so. I found the music nice to chill to, with enough sonic textures to keep me listening. Sendelica have an extensive collection of albums on Bandcamp, and this album makes me want to investigate some more of their work.

Rating 8/10

Available now.

Label: Fruits de Mer
Bandcamp: sendelica.bandcamp.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Sendelica-191174294239796

The band:
Pete Bingham: Guitar, Electronics.
Glenda Pescado: Bass
Lee Relfe: Saxophones
Joe Caswell & Jack Jackson: Drums
Colin Consterdine: Programming, Electronics

Posted in progressive rock, psych rock | Tagged | 1 Comment

Vinide – “Reveal”

KANSI_FINAL_2400x2400 2Finland’s Vinide sound a bit like a lot of different bands. Influences are bound to crop up but on their album “Reveal,” I find little revealed about Vinide other than they are a mix of Epica, Therion and Avantasia. On the plus side, these are all great bands that mix symphonic metal with power metal. Vinide are talented enough to pull off this style of metal too.

Vocalist and mainman Elmeri Kinnunen has a very good voice who does remind me a bit of Tobias Sammet. Musically, the band move from the over-the-top and operatic “The Beginning Scene” which does channel Therion to the acoustic driven balladry of the title track. They are good at each style. Things do get a tad silly with the spoken interlude “Anger” which I hate, along with “The Plea” and “The Truth.”

I really hate dialogue. If I wanted dialogue, I’d watch a fucking movie or read a book. Plus it kills any momentum built by track like “The Rat” which has a thick heavy bottom to match the abundance of strings and the Nighwish-like “Believe.” One of the better tracks in my opinion is “The Great Voyage” which has the right amount of grandeur along with a mid tempo pace. Vinide sound better as a symphonic metal band than a break neck power metal band.

“Reveal” has a lot of potential but too much filler to be a great album. Vinide is VERY skilled and the production is top notch. If you are a fan of the heavier side of symphonic metal, you’ll probably find plenty of enjoyment throughout “Reveal.” This is one of those situations where the album isn’t my cup of tea but I recognize when something is good and this is that.

Rating: 7.5/10

Tracklist:

1. Intro
2. The Beginning Scene
3. Breakout
4. Reveal
5. Anger
6. The Rat
7. Plea
8. Emanuel
9. The Truth
10. The Plan
11. Believe
12. Bombs
13. Another Dimension
14. The Great Voyage
15. Save The Earth

Release Date: January 26th 2018
Record label: Inverse Records
Website: www.vinide.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/vinideofficial

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Posted in cinematic metal, power metal, symphonic metal | Tagged | Leave a comment

RIAN ADKINSON ANNOUNCES RELEASE DATE FOR NEW ALBUM ‘HEATHENS’

One album that I am really looking forward to is by my buddy Rian Adkinson. People have said that Steven Wilson is embracing his pop side, well Rian has that down and hasn’t lost his prog sensibilities like others. Here’s the press release announcing his upcoming album “Heathens”:

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2017 has been a very busy year for Atlanta based self-proclaimed “hillbilly progger” Rian Adkinson. Adkinson released the singles ‘Judas’ in January, ‘Identical’ in July and toured in late May/early June with the HEATHENSONGS TOUR, with his live band. Rian Adkinson will release his long awaited follow up to 2014’s ‘Villain’ on March 23, 2018.

heathens

Rian talks about the concept behind the album:

“Growing up in the south, especially where my father was born in South Carolina, religion is everything, it’s the social scene, everyone goes to church, from the drunks and the prostitutes to the mayor and the politicians. They’re all mingled together, the good, the bad and the ugly but some are not going to have a spiritual experience, they are going to clear a conscience, right a few wrongs in the eyes of their maker. I have always been intrigued by these people and how they act outside of the walls of their local parish. The “I’m better than you, I’m closer to perfect because I’m closer to god” complex that exists in a large majority of religion in effect influenced me to write the album and specifically the track ‘Judas’. Ultimately, we are not perfect, we falter, we are human and sometimes we make horrible decisions and have to deal with the hurricane of consequences that come from them. This is fundamentally what ‘Heathens’ is all about.”

“Heathens” was written and performed by Rian Adkinson with Brandon Ham and Stacey
Mount Bowers. The album was produced, mixed and mastered by Brandon Ham.

For more on Rian Adkinson, check out his online channels below:
rianadkinson.com
rianadkinson.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/rianadkinsonmusic
twitter.com/rianadkinsonhq
instagram.com/rianadkinsonhq

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Non Newtonian Man – “Clouds”

cloudsI guess all the good band names are officially taken. Non Newtonian Man is certainly one of the worse ones that I’ve heard other than maybe Soul Enema. It’s interesting how a bad name can impact your desire to even check out a band. This is without a doubt one of those times. I kept putting off this one and the only reason I can think of is the name. Shallow.

But maybe I sensed a problem ahead? For all of Non Newtonian Man’s musical talents (and yes the band can play), they are completely for naught as the vocals are weak. When you have a band with the talent to play complex arrangements and also can write a good hook, it just baffles me when the vocals just aren’t up to the task. The vocals aren’t entirely off tune but range is very limited and the delivery is boring at best.

I’ve had many many submissions that I’ve rejected for this very reason and as I listen to “Clouds” I’m not sure that I shouldn’t have rejected it as well. But the musicianship is there. The solo on “Beyond the Door” is a good example of that. I also love the use of organs through out the album. The riffing is nice and crunchy at times, listen to “Pawn” for example, and I really like that as well.

Sadly, Non Newtonian Man need a dynamic singer that can match their musicianship. Without that, it’s just another forgettable album that I’ll quite honestly never listen to again. That’s a shame too but as you all know, I am always honest. So if you are someone that doesn’t mind weaker vocals, perhaps “Clouds” is for you.

Note: there are no full length tracks available to preview other than on Spotify (which I do not use). There are very short clips on YouTube.

Rating: 5/10

Tracklist:
1. Overwhelming (8:11)
2. Beyond The Door (4:44)
3. Pawn (9:19)
4. In Search Of Courage (1:37)
5. Shelter (5:37)
6. Olandese Volante (14:52)
7. From Here (6:10)
8. Biomechanical (16:21)
9. Queen (3:58)

Website: www.nonnewtonianman.com

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