VOIVOD – “The Wake” album details and release date announced!

Celebrating their 35th anniversary this year, Canadian progressive sci-fi metal innovators VOIVOD are pleased to announce a release date of September 21st, 2018 for their upcoming new studio album “The Wake” via Century Media Records worldwide.

“The Wake”, the highly anticipated successor to 2013’s “Target Earth” album as well as the 2016 mini-album “Post Society”, was recorded and mixed by Francis Perron at RadicArt Recording Studio in Canada. The album‘s artwork was once again created by VOIVOD drummer Michel “Away” Langevin and can be seen above.

VOIVOD guitarist Daniel “Chewy“ Mongrain” checked in with the following comment: “It is with great enthusiasm and pride that we will soon share with you the fruit of 2 years of labor in the form of an intricate, intense and colorful journey with our new album ‘The Wake’, expanding the boundaries of VOIVOD’s multiverse!”
 

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The album’s track-listing reads as follows:

VOIVOD “The Wake”:
1. Obsolete Beings
2. The End Of Dormancy
3. Orb Confusion
4. Iconspiracy
5. Spherical Perspective
6. Event Horizon
7. Always Moving
8. Sonic Mycelium

The first single off “The Wake” is expected for release on July 20th.

VOIVOD’s first European touring run in support of “The Wake” will feature the following rotating support acts: Maggot Heart (from 7th until 16th Sept), Nightrage (from 18th until 26th Sept) and Bio-Cancer (from 28th Sept until 20th Oct). Here is a list of all dates:

VOIVOD – European Tour 2018:
07.09.2018 Prague (Czech Republic) – Futurum *
08.09.2018 Poznan (Poland) – U Bazyla *
09.09.2018 Warsaw (Poland) – Hydrozagadka *
10.09.2018 Krakow (Poland) – Kwadrat *
11.09.2018 Bratislava (Slovakia) – Randal Club *
13.09.2018 Cluj-Napoca (Romania) – Flying Circus Pub *
14.09.2018 Belgrade (Serbia) – Elektropionir *
15.09.2018 Budapest (Hungary) – Durer Kert *
16.09.2018 Vienna (Austria) – Szene *
18.09.2018 Bologna (Italy) – Locomotiv **
19.09.2018 Rome (Italy) – Largo **
20.09.2018 Milan (Italy) – Santeria **
21.09.2018 Winterthur (Switzerland) – Gaswerk **
22.09.2018 Seyssinet Pariset (France) – Ilyade **
24.09.2018 Barcelona (Spain) – Boveda **
25.09.2018 Madrid (Spain) – Nazca **
26.09.2018 Porto (Portugal) – Hard Club **
28.09.2018 Marseille (France) – Jas’ Rod ***
29.09.2018 Paris (France) – Petit Bain ***
30.09.2018 Nantes (France) – Ferrailleur ***
02.10.2018 Southampton (UK) – The Joiners ***
03.10.2018 Cardiff (UK) – The Globe ***
04.10.2018 Leeds (UK) – Temple Of Boom ***
05.10.2018 Glasgow (UK) – Cathouse ***
06.10.2018 Manchester (UK) – Rebellion ***
07.10.2018 London (UK) – Underworld ***
09.10.2018 Brussels (Belgium) – Magasin 4 ***
10.10.2018 Amstelveen (The Netherlands) – P60 ***
11.10.2018 Eindhoven (The Netherlands) – Dynamo ***
12.10.2018 Cologne (Germany) – Luxor ***
13.10.2018 Hamburg (Germany) – Logo ***
14.10.2018 Copenhagen (Denmark) – Pumpehuset ***
15.10.2018 Stockholm (Sweden) – Klubb Nalen ***
17.10.2018 Helsinki (Finland) – Tavastia ***
18.10.2018 Tampere (Finland) – Klubi ***
20.10.2018 Oslo (Norway) – John Dee ***

Support bands:
* Maggot Heart (from 7th until 16th Sept)
** Nightrage (from 18th until 26th Sept)
*** Bio-Cancer (from 28th Sept until 20th Oct)

VOIVOD drummer Michel “Away” Langevin commented on the upcoming European tour as follows: We are thrilled to visit our friends in Europe once again in September and October, and it will be a great occasion for us to test songs from our upcoming album,“The Wake“.“

Previously, VOIVOD will also appear at selected festivals in North America as follows:

VOIVOD – Live 2018:
29.07.2018 Montreal (Canada) – Heavy Montreal Festival
https://www.heavymontreal.com/en/artists
04.08.2018 Lévis (Canada) – Festivent
https://festivent.ca/artistes/
18.08.2018 Las Vegas (USA) – Psycho Las Vegas Festival
https://www.vivapsycho.com

VOIVOD line-up:
Snake – Vocals
Chewy – Guitar
Rocky – Bass
Away – Drums

VOIVOD online:
http://voivod.com
http://www.facebook.com/Voivod

Century Media Records online:
http://www.centurymedia.com
http://www.youtube.com/centurymedia
http://twitter.com/centurymediaeu
http://www.facebook.com/centurymedia

Century Media webshop:
http://www.cmdistro.com

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Distorted Harmony – “A Way Out”

a3285990306_10Israel’s Distorted Harmony started out as a more straight up prog metal outfit with very obvious Dream Theater influences. They released their debut album “Utopia” for free and garnered much attention. When it came time for the second album, the band shifted their style away from the longer epic tracks and distilled their sound to a more “modern” prog sound. “Chain Reaction” was more song focused and definitely a bold move.

Now, Distorted Harmony is back with “A Way Out” and they’ve added two new guitarists as well. Guy Landau is out and both Amit Plaschkes and Yoel Genin are in. So once again, the band shifts their sound which is bound to happen when you change guitarist. “A Way Out” fully embraces djent while keeping a trace of their old school prog metal roots. Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t work.

For starters, the overuse of electronics and stuttering guitars has gotten to be cliche. Too many bands are doing the same damn thing. Now you can add Distorted Harmony to that list. The electronics are of the ticking, beeping kind that drive me nuts. They are fucking everywhere too. And the riffs are all over the place. They will take a standard thick djent riff and then shift to a standard riff and back again. The problem is that it just doesn’t quite transition well and sounds awkward.

Vocalist Michael Rose sounds good for the most part but decides to mix in a harsh vocal line here and there. I don’t mind harsh vocals but these seem so random that they sound forced. It sounds like they are trying to be more modern metal versus do what they do best. By the time the breakdown (metalcore) happens in “We are Free,” I am rather disappointed.

Bands definitely should evolve and progress. The problem is that Distorted Harmony are forcing it. They are attempting to mix Haken, Vola and even some DT into their music and in the process lose whatever originality and cohesiveness they had. The album does have some good moments though. “Downfall” is a solid opening track and “Time and Time Again” sounds like they used to sound.

Overall, “A Way Out” is a very sterile, synthetic sounding album that could use more tracks like the aforementioned “Time and Time Again,” “For Ester” or moments like the end of “Puppet on Strings.” Instead, the album feels like a band trying to fit into the current djent, modern metal scene rather than blaze their own unique path. Still, because of that many people will still find it quite enjoyable.

Rating: 5.5/10

Tracklist:

1. Downfall
2. Room 11
3. Awaken
4. Severed
5. Puppet on Strings
6. For Ester
7. Anima
8. A Way Out of Here
9. Time and Time Again
10. We Are Free
11. Someday

Bandcamp: distortedharmony.bandcamp.com/album/a-way-out

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Rank ‘Em: Spock’s Beard studio albums

I was asked by a good friend if I would do a “Rank ‘Em” column on Spock’s Beard. And they have had many amazing albums over the years, so they make a great choice. But what makes it more interesting is that they have had 3 different vocalists and thus 3 different eras. The Neal Morse Era is what put the band on the map. But they didn’t fold when he left and are still as great as ever.

So here are all 13 studio albums ranked against each other. I am sure this will cause many folks to think I am an idiot but hey I am used to that! No live albums, no EPs allowed. Let’s go! I should mention that I really like ALL of their albums so this is quite difficult.

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13. X
Something had to be last and for me, “X” felt like the band was tired. NDV didn’t seem to into it and was gone after the release. There are a few good tracks but adding all the names of the people who sponsored the album to “Their Names Escape Me” is as annoying as it gets.

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12. The Oblivion Particle
I started out liking this album a lot and the more I listened, the more I grew tired of it. The issue is that the songs just aren’t that strong. It felt rushed too. “Bennett Built a Time Machine” is easily the best track on it and there’s a big drop off after that. The cover of “Iron Man” on the deluxe edition is a waste of cash.

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11. Snow
Here’s where people lose their minds. I think “Snow” is overrated. Why? Like most double concept albums, it’s too damn long for one thing. If it was cut down to one disc, I think I’d like it more. Also, it sounds like Neal is already plotting his exit. It has some amazing songs including NDV’s “Looking for Answers.”

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10. The Light
Why is this classic so low? Well, this is where this list gets really messy for me. This album can go up a slot or two from time to time. I think the first two tracks are amazing while the last two aren’t nearly as good.

9. Day For Night
8. Beware of Darkness

These two are basically tied. I could really put them in any order. “Day For Night” has some of my favorites like “Skin,” the title track, and “The Distance to the Sun.” And “Beware of Darkness” has “Waste Away,” “The Doorway” and “Thoughts.”

7. Feel Euphoria
6. Spock’s Beard
These two are basically tied as well. The self titled album has some favorites in “On a Perfect Day,” “Skeletons at the Feast” and “Rearranged.” While “Feel Euphoria” has two of my favorite SB songs in “Ghosts of Autumn” and “The Bottom Line.” Two evenly matched albums! I should point out that this pair and the last pair can go up and down between each other. It’s amazing how consistent this band is regardless of who is singing and writing!

5. Octane
4. V
Another pair of albums that are basically tied. “Octane” has a LOT of great songs and now that I think of it, it really doesn’t move down at all. “She is Everything” is one of my favorite songs by ANYONE. Plus it has “I Wouldn’t Let it Go” and “There was a Time” which are two favorites. As for “V,” “At the End of the Day” is a masterpiece. “All on a Sunday is great along with “Goodbye to Yesterday.” There’s not a weak track on “V.” These two albums are fairly locked in this position.

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3. Noise Floor
The new album could move up or down in this because it does take a while for an album to settle in with me. There are some incredible songs on it and I think Ryo took more of a lead role on this one and it pays off! So for now, this one is locked at three.

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2. The Kindness of Strangers
For the longest time, this was easily my favorite SB album. It has “The Good Don’t Last,” “Strange World” and “June” which are favorites plus “Harm’s Way” and the rest. Easily the best batch of Neal’s songs for me. This is a lock at number 2.

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1. Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
I was excited when I heard that Ted Leonard was joining SB permanently after filling in for NDV. I was curious though if he’s be a good fit. He is. The two songs that he brought to SB for this album are amazing. “Hiding Out” is a perfect opener and “Submerged” is one of the best songs that I have ever heard (yes really). “Something Very Strange” is a favorite and both tracks that Neal assisted with (“Afterthoughts” and “Waiting for Me”) are fucking awesome. Then you add the bonus tracks which are just as good, and you have a perfect album. Yes this is probably a surprise number 1 for you all but this album proved that this band really can survive like no other.

So there you have it! I know that people will definitely have a different order so please comment with yours! Spock’s Beard have been a great prog band for so long and just looking at these albums to rank them reminded me how amazing their legacy is.

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The Night Flight Orchestra – “Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough”

nightflightsometimesmain“Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough” could almost be the title of an old James Bond movie. In this case, it’s the latest album by The Night Flight Orchestra who know how to make authentic classic rock. Now when I say “classic rock” I am not talking about the thousands of bands that are walking around in bell-bottom jeans trying to sound like Black Sabbath fucking the Who. I am talking about music that legitimately sounds like it’s on an FM station in my bedroom when I was a kid. All the while, still somehow sounding fresh and new.

The key to this album (and all NFO albums) is the songwriting. These are GREAT songs. They are memorable and have awesome melodies and more hooks than a fucking tackle box. The point of reference for NFO is channeling bands like Toto, Deep Purple, Chicago or Styx. Bands that have chops in addition to writing great music. NFO features members of Soilwork, Björn “Speed” Strid and David Andersson along side Arch Enemy bassist Sharlee D’Angelo. Musically, NFO is indeed miles away from those bands.

The album kicks off with “This Time” which reminds me of Uriah Heep meets Deep Purple, while the next track “Turn to Miami” has a definite Toto vibe to it. In fact, Speed’s vocals on many tracks sounds like a combo of Joseph Williams and David Paich of Toto. That prog pop style continues with “Paralyzed” and the title track. “Moments Of Thunder” is a favorite track in that it has that mid tempo groove and even hints of Asia.

“Lovers in the Rain” reminds me a little of ELO, especially the fill-less drums. I love ELO so it works for me. Every song could be a hit in another lifetime. “Can’t Be That Bad” reminds me a lot of a song that I can’t for the life of me think of right now. Maybe that’s the key to all of this. It’s familiar but in a very good way!

The epic “The Last Of The Independent Romantics” is a big overblown number that finishes off the regular CD release perfectly. It’s a mix of Toto and early 90s Genesis while never sounding exactly like either. There’s not a band track to be found on “Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough” really. NFO clearly understand how important the song itself is for this type of music to succeed.

If you are looking for a fun album to rock the fuck out to, “Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough” is the one. This (and the other NFO albums) will be a “go to” album for me when I’m not sure what I want to listen to. It’s one of the highest complements I can pay to an album when you consider just how much music I own!

Rating: 9.5/10

Tracklist:
1. This Time
2. Turn To Miami
3. Paralyzed
4. Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough
5. Moments Of Thunder
6. Speedwagon
7. Lovers In The Rain
8. Can’t Be That Bad
9. Pretty Thing Closing In
10. Barcelona
11. Winged And Serpentine
12. The Last Of The Independent Romantics
13. Marjorie (bonus track)
14. Pacific Priestess (Japanese bonus track)

Label: Nuclear Blast
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thenightflightorchestraofficial

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Lux Terminus – “The Courage to Be”

Lux Terminus-The Courage to Be Album Art - smallFirst of all, I need to get it out in the open that I am a fan of  the multi-talented Vikram Shankar. Ever since I first saw that keyboard medley he did with a little Dream Theater and a little Haken, I was amazed. I have been following him ever since and have watched as new songs are released by bands and within an hour or so he has a piano cover video made and posted to YouTube. And sometimes that cover is better than the original. Heck… the dude even made a piano cover of Nightwish’s The Greatest Show on Earth. A 20 minute track. And yes, I watched the whole thing. And I guess I should mention here that Vikram is also now the keyboard player for the band Redemption. Yep. That Redemption.
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Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the album, shall we?

Lux Terminus, which is translated as “the light at the end”, is primarily an instrumental prog/fusion band made up of Vikram, who I think I mentioned already, and Matthew Kerschner on drums and Brian Craft on bass. All three of them shine on this release. They formed the band in 2016 and have been working on this album since, as well as playing some live dates.
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The band cites a lot of influences on this album (progressive metal, rock, jazz fusion (I’m not the greatest fan of this type of music but it works here), electronic, and cinematic music) and all of that is here. I don’t want to take away anything from that lengthy description but the overall vibe and sound I get from this is: picture Liquid Tension Experiment without the guitar. Well.. not ALL without guitar. There is a guest guitarist on the epic here, so maybe think LTE with just a pinch of guitar.
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I want to take a moment to call out the production on this album. The Courage to Be was produced by the band and mastered by Brett Caldas-Lima (Ayreon, The Gentle Storm, Devin Townsend Project). The sound is incredible and I took a look at the waveforms and what you have here is just about perfect. The whole of the songs are allowed to peak with no clipping seen. Extra points for this. I’m sure by now, you are all well aware of my hatred for the Loudness War (if not, then know I hate it), and this one reigns victorious.
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The album starts off with an intro track called Prologue: The Departure (I). It is the first of a 4 part suite of music that is scattered throughout the album. I’ll let the band describe it: “a four-part musical suite that thematically tells a story of separation and hardship, but also hope and transcendence”. There ya go. And the last track, Epilogue: Fly (IV), has a special guest in Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering, Devin Townsend Project, VUUR, et al.) on vocals. The only track with vocals.

Electrocommunion is well placed here as the second track. Check it out below. If you like that track, you will like this album. It is a great first single to release and switches gears many times during its run. Definitely some LTE with a bit of Vince Dicola influence as well. Part 2 of the album suite is next. The Journey plays along with a beautiful galloping melody. This is followed by Aberration, which also has multiple personalities; shifting between some cool DiCola riffs, smooth melodies, jazz solos, and driving beats. Don’t get too comfortable with any section in this one.

Miles Away (not a Winger cover. A little disappointed there. ;-)) starts off with a very guitar-sounding keyboard solo and then goes crazy from there. Lot of that jazz keyboard sprinkled around here.
We take a bit of a breather with Spectral Shapes. Smooth jazz. Again, not what I typically go for, but I definitely don’t skip this track. The laid back feel continues into part three (The Road Home) of the aforementioned suite of tunes. This builds to a nice keyboard choir sound that gives me goosebumps. Very airy and angelic.
Effusion takes us back into faster territory. This is an upbeat track with lots of great melodies. I definitely hear some DiCola influence here as well.
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This brings us to the albums epic piece (technically there are two epic pieces if you include the suite). The Courage to Be clocks in at just about 21 minutes. It has a slow start and builds nicely. Timo Somers (Delain and Vengeance) guests on guitar towards the end and also includes cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne (Leprous, Musk Ox). The build up on this one pays off with the beautiful climax. A very cinematic piece.
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And finally, we have part 4 of the album suite, Epilogue: Fly. Anneke is fantastic as always and this is a very nice tune with which to close the album.
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I spent a lot of time on this one. Taking a break between listens and coming back to dig in again. I didn’t want my being a fan of Vikram to taint this review so I spent many hours listening to it. I tried to find faults as I wanted to make sure this album earned its score. As I type this, I am on my 20th pass through. Not getting old at all. The DiCola influence is a big key for me as I am a huge fan of his work, so that helps too. It also challenges me a bit as there are parts, as I have said, that I don’t normally go for. Not the biggest jazz fan… but there are bands I like that do it well. So I can appreciate it here.
If you enjoy progressive, instrumental, jazz influenced music. You need this album.
Rating: 9.5/10
Tracklist:
1.  Prologue: The Departure (I) – 1:39
2.  Electrocommunion – 5:07
3.  The Journey (II) – 4:15
4.  Aberration – 5:32
5.  Miles Away – 4:52
6.  Spectral Shapes – 3:33
7.  The Road Home (III) – 6:06
8.  Effusion – 6:36
9.  The Courage to Be [feat. Timo Somers & Raphael Weinroth-Browne] – 20:56
10.  Epilogue: Fly (IV) [feat. Anneke Van Giersbergen] – 4:38
Label: independent release
Release Date: August 24, 2018
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