About gritzcolin

Scarcely talented, considerably critical, probably awesome.

Purson – The Circle and the Blue Door

70′s psychedelic revival music is a thing that exists and most of it is awesome (some of it is recorded on a my first tape recorder from the 80′s it sounds like garbage, yuck) the production value of this album is top notch. I like 70′s rock, I listened to a lot of my parents records growing up and still have most of them. So this very familiar but also kind of fresh in a way. The band I look at here is Purson, hailing from London, England fronted and founded by Rosalie Cunningham who is much younger than you might guess listening to her voice and what comes from her soul. I love ladies with sultry voices and she hits all the right buttons. This is one hell of a good band and their debut album really gives me hope for any future work they do there is so much potential for very memorable music and maybe concert tours.

The album feels like it is telling me a story but I have yet to really decipher it. (I was never good at looking for deeper meaning) I tend to only write about albums that I can listen to the entire thing in one sitting and this is not different. It actually feels like you are missing something if you just listen to one song and nothing else.

It is obvious they were influenced by many 70′s bands but pretending I could pick out and name more than a few isn’t gonna happen but there is one track “Tempest and the Tide” that reminds me of Steel Eye Span and something I can’t put my finger on but will edit in later as if I knew when I wrote this. I even hear a bit of the really proggy era Genesis which is always welcome. It is fun to sit and try to remember what song of yesteryear you are being constantly reminded of also annoying that you brain doesn’t work so well anymore. That doesn’t mean this is not unique in its own right make no mistake about that.

I don’t have much to say about this album other than go check it out usually i will break down my favorite songs but this time I implore you to listen if anything I said resonates with you. Purson made this album feel like a story and it takes you to another time and place. It deserves a chance and I don’t regret giving it one.

After looking at their soundcloud which I will link below there is a song called Let Bloom and yes please. It isn’t on the LP reviewed but it is certainly now in my heart I love this kind of music.

Colin

Dream Theater – Dream Theater

Well I have been a DT fan since 2000 when I first heard their music in the US release of The History of Trunks which featured most of Metropolis 2 : Scenes from a Memory. It is still one of my favorite prog rock albums of all time but my love affair with Dream Theater has slid into a less happy place since the years after they released Octavarium, which I think was their best album. After that the sound got heavier and you could almost feel the bands synergy breaking apart. It felt like Mike Portnoy was pushing the band in a direction they didn’t want to go and when the opportunity came they went on without him. I appreciate Portnoy for his talents as a drummer and the music he and the other members of DT created for 20+ years but as they say “all good things must come to an end.”

Now DT has Mike Mangini drumming and while I enjoyed the previous album with Mangini drumming but I found I didn’t really go back to it, much like the last two releases with Portnoy. There are some good tracks here and there but it feels like something is missing from each of the last 4 albums and this newest release is no different. I will say the songs I like are really good but the rest of the album feels like a bunch of boring b-sides. I need a more complete experience. Maybe I am being picky, but I don’t feel I could get anyone to listen to this album if they weren’t already a DT fan even then I doubt the reception would be any warmer.
Now I mentioned there are some songs I like. Well this part is what made listening to this album hardest for me. Tracks one and two are among the best stuff I have heard from DT in many years.

The First “False Awakening Suite” is an instrumental that could rank with the best boss music in video game history. Can’t say much else but go listen it is pretty awesome.

#2 “The Enemy Inside” another great song. I get to this point and neither realize it is no longer Portnoy playing, Mangini is a boss for sure. I am also thinking holy shit this is the DT I once loved. Jordan Rudess fucking murders everyone’s mom with his fingers on this track too god them keys are legit.

#3 “The Looking Glass” ugg fucking shoot me now or give me uppers. I am bored thinking about that song. How did you go from those first two songs to this? Sad face. :(

#4 “Enigma Machine” whoo hoo another awesome instrumental track. The guitar in this is quite awesome John Petrucci is damn good. As are the drums and keys and the no James LaBrie.

#5 “The Bigger Picture” It wouldn’t be bad except Labrie’s vocals are putting me to sleep through half the song. Ballady and meh.

#6 “Behind The Veil” Oh here we go this is not bad……….fuck he is serenading me again I need a Cliffsnotes version of this album where it cuts all that out and replaces it with a guy saying boring lets move on and going to the next good part.

#7 “Surrender to Reason” Ok this is not a bad song, kind of reminds me slightly of 80′s Rush in parts. So it gets a pass.

#8 “Along For The Ride” another bore fest.

#9 “Illumination Theory” one of their 20 minute closing tracks that has some great parts but not anything I’d go out of my way to hear.

Thoughts overall? The tracks I mentioned as good I’d say give em a listen and even buy them on Itunes or Amazon but I wouldn’t really recommend the whole album to anyone who doesn’t love DT already.

Unleash the Archers – Demons of the AstroWaste

Let me tell you right off I am picky when it comes to women singing in metal or rock of any kind. However I do like good range and this girl has got that and uses it when necessary but manages to not over do it like some other female vocalists. A few other bands I like with female leads are Madder Mortem (Thanks Corsair) and To-Mera as examples.

Unleash the Archers is a fantasy/sword and board themed power metal band from Vancouver, Canada. As mentioned above the lead singer is a woman and backing “growls” are done by two male band members they aren’t too bad one of them has a certain In Flames sound to him. I can’t say enough about her voice though. Powerful and not piercing, she can hit some notes that make me shiver and she is quite pleasant to look at too. The drumming is good but nothing to write home about same goes for the guitar and bass but what they lack in uniqueness in those areas they make up for in fluidity. This band has a very smooth feel to their music. It takes you along for a ride and you don’t find yourself hitting speed bumps or stop signs that kill your focus.

I have to say I haven’t heard any power metal in a few years that excites me like this, last time was when I first discovered Rhapsody and Sonata Artica I was heavy into it then. Honestly this isn’t really even the same Power Metal, those examples are more flashy and designed to really showcase individual musician’s skills. Unleash the Archers is closer to a metalcore band but without the annoying girlyboy singing in the same way every other band you’ve heard like that (thats another gripe for another time).

Their second full length album “Demons of the AstroWaste” while not quite a theme or single story album (Which are my favoritest. Look out for the Ayreon review I am going to do soon.), is solid. There isn’t a track I don’t enjoy. The song that introduced me was “General of the Dark Army” . Damn good song, cool video. At first listen it was enough for me to post the video on my facebook wall but I walked away at the time and only came back a month later. What the hell was I thinking I could have wrote this review much sooner. That scream at 5:11, holy shit it gives me chills.

Can’t say I have a favorite song yet but notable entries to look for are the above mentioned song, then “Daughters of Winterstone” which contrary to what I said earlier has some pretty good guitar work that I suppose I will write home about, my mom won’t read it though.

“Despair” is a good track with well done tempo changes throughout. The drumming transitions pretty well….shit I really should rewrite that earlier paragraph but I have come to far to turn back. (I feel kinda bad for bassists you guys get no credit. I mean listen to music without bass and you will know something is missing but to the laymans ear it seems to blend in the music with no distinguishable sound. Thank you bass player!)

“The Realm of Tomorrow” I FUCKING LOVE when songs just drop tempo like they saw a cop ahead and speed back up when he is out of sight. Ok it’s not as abrubt in the song as I described but it is still wonderfully executed by this band.

I give this album a big \m/ in the air!

I don’t even know if these guys/girl are signed to any label. Maybe they want to stay independent to which I say more power to them if that’s the case. I wish them all the good fortune in the world and I just hope me spending a bit of my time writing this up gets them some new fans. Also they are working on their third album and that makes me happy!

Colin

http://unleashthearchers.com/

https://www.facebook.com/UnleashTheArchers

Billy Talent

I am just going to cover all of their music as I don’t find one of their albums to stand out above the rest. In Fact I don’t really think they have what I’d consider a great album, but they have a lot of great songs.

Billy Talent is a punk band from Ontario, Canada, formed in 1993 under the name Pezz changing to Billy Talent in ’99 they have released four albums under the latter name. Those four are what I will go over.

I’m not trying to sound clever but Billy Talent is a band with a lot of talent. Like most punk bands their music is often anti-establishment in spirit, informing the listener they are just a cog in the machine and they should rebel instead of conform etc… Unlike most punk bands these guys sound fluid, well produced and powerful, the first two things are ultra rare in punk. I don’t know how I would describe their sound except that I haven’t really enjoyed a punk band this much since I first listened to Bad Religion.

Throughout all four albums you do hear a slight evolution in their sound and after listening to it a few times, I feel as if they actually got better. Many bands suffer after a good freshman release but not these guys. I do maintain that none of their releases are great and that is due to songs I feel are kind of ballady and I hate ballads.

If I had to make a list of the songs I like most from each album it will go like this.

Off the Billy Talent album
“Nothing to Lose” This song is not typical of their music but I really like the lyrics. About a depressed teenager who seems to get picked on and is having trouble figuring out how to deal with it. I don’t think he figured it out.

Billy Talent II
“Worker Bees” Holy shit I love this song. Not much else to say about it other than listen to it and thank me later. “PROTECT THE HIVE FROM ENEMIES!”

Billy Talent III
“The Dead Can’t Testify” Do I hear a harpsichord? That’s all I need.

Dead Silence
“Viking Death March” This is just a fantastic song. What I look for in punk music.

I wanted to be more descriptive about these songs but there aren’t any nuances I can pick out and want to show you it is just a case of you should hear them for yourself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Colin

Trace – Birds

Some days I find myself falling into a youtube suggested videos rabbit hole. Some days it goes well and I find a few new bands I enjoy and other days I end up in the dark corners of the site that should not exist. One of the good days led to the discovery of Trace, a Dutch prog rock band from the 1970′s. Their music is primarily instrumental and completely fantastic. Rick van der Linden plays the keyboards and holy hell what talent he had. He was inspired by by Keith Emerson and started the band Ekseption who played modern interpretations of classical music by Beethoven, Back and Tchaikovsky. He later moved on and formed Trace which is closer in style to much of the Prog Rock of the 70′s.

Their second LP Birds was released in 1975. I have listened to this album a few dozen times and it never gets old. I will admit it has parts that I am not too keen on mostly because it feels boring and nothing more than filler. Most of the boring happens in the song “Opus 1065″. It is listenable if only for a nice violin and piano duo about 5 minutes in otherwise I can leave it. Most of the rest of the album consists of short 1-3 minute tracks with classical and jazz influences throughout. “Bourree” is the opening track and if you want to hear what I meant by “what talent he had” check that out first.

Birds is anchored by an imposing 22 minute track titled “King bird” (which on the vinyl was listed as 7 tracks on side one). This is another song that showcases van der Linden’s ability which I would say is on par with that of Wakeman and Emerson from the period. It is also the sole song on the album with lyrics, nothing special about them nor anything bad. It’s is a great example of what I love about prog rock, a hand full of songs in one track stitched together in a way that makes audible sense but I fear is wizardry and I will never possess the skill to do myself.

Maybe I should come up with a rating system but for now I will just say if you enjoyed ELP or Yes check out Trace, you can listen on youtube and buy cd’s on Amazon.

Colin

Psychotic Waltz “A Social Grace”

This is a band that got lost in the 90′s. Devon Graves of Dead Soul Tribe fame (I should use fame loosely and I mean that in a Platinum hit top 40 kind of way which means nothing to me personally, but DST is the reason I know this band exists.) is the vocalist and plays flute occasionally. I am not sure why this band was under the radar but I am going to guess it is the prog influences. Most people find it too complex I suppose. This is also a time when bands from Seattle’s grunge scene were making waves in the music industry and the differences are quite apparent. The band hung it up in 1997 and Graves went on to start DST.

I would describe Psychotic Waltz’s music as a fusion of prog rock, heavy metal and perhaps psychedelic rock. The band calls it Hippy Metal and I guess that works. Graves has such a haunting voice it really ties together with the mood of the music. The smatterings of flute and piano really help give it the prog feel.

There is one song called “Spiral Tower”, it is appropriate because listening to the album from start to finish I sort of feel as I am embarking on a journey up that tower. Fighting Demons and Hydras on my way up losing companions and still soldiering on………I have played way too much Shining Force 2.

When I hear an album and can listen to it end to end without wanting to skip a song it delights me more than most people know. I’d go in depth into the songs but really feel the album as a whole package is what is important here. Each song feels like it was written for the rest of the tracks on the album. Notably exceptional songs are “Halo of Thorns”, “I of the Storm”, “A Psychotic Waltz” and “Spiral Tower”

Check it out. Oh and good news Psychotic Waltz is back together and working on a new album which will hopefully be out sometime before the end of this year.

Psychotic Waltz web page

Colin

Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events

I went into this with very low expectations due to the departure of Mike Portnoy on drums and the fact that I found the previous two albums barely listenable. Ok so they weren’t that bad but for a band who is adept at producing phenomenal album after phenomenal album they were quite bad. I am still absorbing this new album but as it sits this is easily as good as Metropolis PT2 : Scenes from a Memory. That, from me, says a lot since it is my third favorite album after Train of Thought and Octavarium.

Let me start by saying Mike Mangini did more than deliver he brought it in your house and set it up for you, even gave you a quick training session. I am impressed, I have heard of him in the past but it was hard for me to believe anyone could replace Portnoy. Rudess is in classic form on this album, never much of a complaint when it comes to his performance on the keys after all he is the modern day Rick Wakeman. Petrucci, Myung and LaBrie all bring it together to reseal the void that seemed to be quite apparent in the last two albums.

On the Backs of Angels is the first track and is a perfect example of why these guys are some of the best progressive rock musicians in the world. It has a great mix of well paced guitar and drums, the keyboards are a bit more lively but appropriate.

Build me up, Break me Down is the second track and is a standard sounding DT piece throughout the chorus but the verses are sung by LaBrie through a filter of some sort and it transforms in to an early 2000′s heavy metal track with an almost Disturbed sound to it.

Lost Not Forgotten starts with a piano solo develops into a ten minute long excursion of this joyous genre that is called progressive rock.

This is the Life is a standard ballad style DT song, nothing real impressive here but a good listen for sure.

Bridges in the Sky is one of my favorite songs on the album. We start out with some guttural chanting that transitions to chanting you might hear in a church. Then it’s on with the guitar and complimentary drumming and keys that have always kept DT in a league of their own. (Mike Mangini is a beast) I absolutely recommend you give this song a listen it is epic. Yes I did just say EPIC!

Outcry the song that takes up track 6 and possibly ranks #1 in my heart. This is an 11+ minute song that really puts on display that these guys have not lost their touch in over 20 years of making music. I am not even going to try and describe this song just go listen to it.

Far from Heaven is another ballady type of song and my least favorite on the album. Not much to be said except LaBrie’s vocals are very good on it.

Breaking All Illusions is the longest song on the album at 12:26 and is a decent song until about ten minutes in where it becomes freaking incredible. That crescendo to finale part of any prog song worth its salt is what I live for when I listen to it (that and abrupt changes in pacing).

Beneath the Surface is the final track and is another ballad but a good song, solid acoustic guitar and vocals. I rather like the lyrics to this song reminds me of crappy women……..anyway.

My conclusion is that if you are a fan of music you should pick this up, if you are a long time DT fan who is bitter about their last two albums pick this up you won’t be disappointed. I sure wasn’t.

You go here you buy,

A Dramatic Turn Of Events

Trivium – In Waves

I was very excited for this album to release. I have all of their previous work and enjoy the mix of metal and rock, with sprinklings of prog. Naturally I expected this album to deliver all of that and hopefully more, but I am finding myself disappointed thus far. There are a few notable tracks such as “Black”, “Built to Fall” and “Shattering the skies above” the latter of which was released months ago on the God of War 3 soundtrack so it’s lost the appeal it had when I first heard it.

Now bear in mind these are initial impressions of the album, I have many times found certain releases from a band to grow on me with time. This is definitely the case with Dream Theater’s Octavarium which is one of my favorite albums from them now.

The song “Of All These Yesterdays” really hit me when I first heard it, but as I continued to listen to it, the lyrics became repetitive and well perhaps boring. Usually I find myself not liking the beginning of a song and it growing into a masterpiece or at the very least something enjoyable, this song had the opposite effect on me.

The rest of the album at this point sounds like a mix of Unearth and numerous other popular metal bands, which isn’t a bad thing by any means, just not unique enough for me to consider it a stellar release by these guys. They have put out phenomenal music in the past and this just doesn’t stack up to the previous work. I am not saying avoid this album it isn’t bad just go in expecting a good metal album not a work of art.

Colin “Loudneighbor”

Pomeroy – A New Reflection

Pomeroy “A New Reflection” I know most people around my area heard of Pomeroy with their popular single Roboflow played on 89.7fm The River and their frequent appearances at the old Ranch Bowl and other local Venues.

The newest album is in my opinion the best they have made to date. I call them the Crimson Kings of Harmony. Ok I don’t ever call them that but they do have a knack for nailing catchy riffs and harmonies. I try to push it on a lot of people and anyone who actually tries this album likes it.

The album is only 11 tracks, but I can honestly say I like all of the songs but 3 and they aren’t terrible, just not my style I suppose. First 4 songs are great. Starts out with “A New Reflection” which is definitely a funk derived tune, certainly has some hints of Stevie Wonder’s more upbeat stuff.

The third song is called “Beautiful Design” this reminds me more of early Maroon 5 than it does Pomeroy which isn’t a bad thing since I like me some Maroon 5. This song has since become my personal favorite of theirs. The lyrics alone just move my soul.

The fourth song is called “Motionless” starts out with piano and goes into background vocals which really show what these guys are capable of in terms of harmony and as I said catchiness.

“The Beat Goes On” the sixth song is upbeat and if nothing else will get you nodding your head wishing you had rythym.

Anyway go buy this CD it will make you happy and gets listened to by me on a regular basis and I have a lot of music so anything that makes it in to a normal routine with me has to be good.

LoudNeighbor