Albums wot I woz rather excited about but …

At the end of last year I posted about three albums coming out in the first few months of 2015 that I was really excited about. They are all out now, but I was just reflecting on the fact that actually I ended frankly “meh” about all three of them! None of them are bad albums, but they’re not standout albums either. The word “solid” mostly applies!

I tend to judge albums by whether they’ve multiple tracks that I want to listen to individually on repeat, and whether I can listen to the whole album on repeat for days, or weeks, or even months, and not get bored. A great example is my favourite album from last year, Spires – The Whisper, that I’m still listening to regularly now and still loving!

My summary review of these three anticipated albums would be …

  • Beardfish – +4626-COMFORTZONE – something of a backward step to the more traditional prog of earlier Beardfish. Personally I enjoyed the step forward and heavier vibe on their previous album The Void, but that’s all but forgotten with this album. Few contemporary bands are better at doing traditional prog than them, but no tracks grab me particularly.
  • Sylosis – Dormant Heart – pretty much more of the same from Sylosis. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but there’s nothing particularly exciting on the album. No “wow” riffs or solos, just consistently technically well executed metal. I’ll still go and see them live when they tour the album later in the year though!
  • Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase. – a slightly more positive response for this one, but again nothing that really stands out of me. I totally loved Steve’s previous album The Raven That Refused to Sing, and there were some bits that I could listen to for hours. For example, Drive Home is one of the most achingly beautiful songs ever, and its EBow-esque (actually a Sustainiac pickup) guitar solo is an eyes-closed few minutes of musical overload, that I’ve played numerous times. Nothing on Hand. Cannot. Erase. has that staying power!

Oh well! I have found some absolutely corking albums this year in lieu of the above though, and I’ll post about those some time soon.

As if excuse is needed, here’s the beautiful Drive Home with its equally beautiful video! Watch it at full screen 1080P if you can!

 

Upcoming albums wot I iz rather excited about!

I listen to all sorts of music, and indeed listen to music as much of the time as I possibly can, but I do think it’s fair to say that majority of my listening in recent years has been to music that has the word progressive tagged on it somewhere. Said progressive tag spans a wide range of heaviness though.

The first couple of months of 2015 are already shaping up to provide some killer new albums from some of my favourite progressive bands, and the plan is that I keep this post up-to-date with impending releases that I’m looking forward too hereon.


Beardfish – +4626-COMFORTZONE – 12th January 2015

Beardfish still hold the crown as my most scrobbled band. They’re my favourite modern “traditional” prog rock, with a sound definitely anchored in the prog rock of the 1970s, but with more than enough contemporariness to make them sound like their own band. Their sound is anchored on twin guitars but also awesome Hammond organ as multi-instrumental lead singer Rikard Sjöblom switches readily between guitar and keyboards (which is why I’ve hankered after a Nord Electro 3 keyboard for a while). Their last album, The Void,  was released in 2012 and marked their heaviest sound to date, bordering on progressive metal at times.

Apparently the new album is all about addressing the inner self.


Sylosis – Dormant Heart – 12th January 2015

Two great albums on the same day … what am I going to do!? I’ve posted about my love of Sylosis before. Definitely at the other extreme of the progressive spectrum, Sylosis are progressive thrash metal, and I’m totally open about my fanboi adoration of Josh Middleton’s guitar playing. Their last album Monolith was released back in 2012. Apparently this new one is their “most pissed off album” lyrically, and so definitely something to scare the neighbours with when I’m out washing the cars! It’s also the first album with their new drummer, Ali Richardson, who’s sharing his time between Sylosis and his other awesome deathcore/metalcore band Bleed from Within.


Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase. – 2nd March 2015

I absolutely adored Steven Wilson’s previous album The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) from 2013 and, if you need a very special endorsement of something I listen to, Mrs ® Andy liked it too! Steven Wilson has his hands in lots of things across the progressive spectrum, including his solo albums, various collaborations, and also production including most of Opeth’s recent albums. Also of course there is/was his band Porcupine Tree, currently on hiatus. I’d characterise his solo albums as the best of contemporary prog rock though, whilst he composes all the music, practically his well established band make a clear creative stamp through their performances too. Just like The Raven That Refused to Sing, this new album is firmly anchored on a particular concept – in this instance the idea/reality that some people can disappear but be literally missed by no one!