• Iron Maiden 05/08/2011

    7 Aug 2011, 07:19 by adg211288

    Fri 5 Aug – Iron Maiden, DragonForce

    Iron Maiden Live at the O2 Arena – 05/08/2011
    With Support From DragonForce

    The O2 Arena in London is an impressive place to be sure, but not the most comfortable of venues. Stairs in the seating area are about as steep as they are probably allowed to come by health and safety rules, and leg room is naturally at a bare minimum. No one really cares though because the heavy metal legend that is Iron Maiden is why everyone is here to night, and the atmosphere of the fans is, in a word, awesome.

    UK power metal act DragonForce is opening the show tonight. They’re with us for about half an hour, and give us five songs. New vocalist Marc Hudson quickly proves he has the pipes to the fill the position vacated by ZP Theart in 2010. It’s only his second gig with the band, but seems comfortably installed within their line-up all the same, even with a crowd the size of what the O2 can hold (though it hasn’t filled up by this point). The show is as expected – all speed and high pitched vocals; a typical showcase of ‘power metal cheese’. The only surprise of their set is their 3rd song, which Hudson introduces as a new song from their forthcoming fifth album that will be available early next year. The song is called Cry Thunder, and it seems a lot more restrained on the ultra fast leads from Herman Li and Sam Totman. As such you can hear a lot more of what is going on within the song than you can with the other four they play, which all sound the same, and makes Cry Thunder the highlight of the DragonForce set. The band seems to get a somewhat lukewarm reception however. Still it could be worse, we could have once again been treated to a performance by Lauren Harris, who for the first time since this reviewer has been going to Iron Maiden gigs, is absent from the billing.

    DragonForce Rating 6/10

    There’s an intermission while the stage is got ready for tonight’s headliners. We know it’s time when the music on the speakers switches to UFO’s Doctor Doctor (a song that Maiden has a cover version of). Opening the Iron Maiden set is Satellite 15...The Final Frontier. For the first part the band is off stage, which only adds to the dark atmosphere of the track, and they appear for the second half, to a great reception. After this though deliver The Final Frontier’s lead single, El Dorado. Over the course of the show the band plays half of the tracks from The Final Frontier, also treating us to The Talisman, Coming Home and When the Wild Wind Blows. Personally I’m disappointed by the lack of Starblind, but Maiden is Maiden, and the show is as powerful as it has ever been, with Bruce Dickinson tearing about the stage like a man of twenty rather than one over fifty, and is ever the showman. Dave Murray provides the shock of the night with a rare appearance without a Stratocaster for some of the songs.

    Elsewhere in the set we’re treated to some of the classics such as 2 Minutes to Midnight, The Trooper and The Evil That Men Do, and set staples such as Fear of the Dark and Hallowed Be Thy Name. A nice surprise in the set is that they include material from Brave New World and Dance of Death, which has been absent from the last few UK gigs that Iron Maiden has done, with the track Dance of Death being a particular treat.

    Eddie appears onstage during The Evil That Men Do, and even has his own Stratocaster at one point, while a larger Eddie appears behind the stage during the band’s signature song Iron Maiden, as is their live tradition. Bruce stops the show a couple of times to address the crowd, in which he promises that The Final Frontier isn’t really the final frontier at all, but rather the bridge to the final frontier, or something. The prospect of a new Iron Maiden album goes down a storm, but I don’t think I’m the only one hoping that there isn’t as long a gap between releases as there was between A Matter of Life and Death (2006) and The Final Frontier (2010). On that note there is a complete lack of A Matter of Life and Death tracks tonight, but I guess that those songs have been put on the backburner for now to make room for some new songs and revive some older ones.

    Iron Maiden is, as always, on fire. By the time their set starts DragonForce is completely forgotten. The set seems to fly by, as anything fun seems to. To be honest this wasn’t the best Iron Maiden gig I ever went to, but the band proves once again that they are a class above all others. After the band departs the stage after closing the set with Running Free, Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life drifts from the speakers to see the crowd out. All in all a great night.

    Iron Maiden Rating 9/10

    DragonForce Setlist

    1. Heroes of Our Times
    2. Fury of the Storm
    3. Cry Thunder
    4. Operation Ground and Pound
    5. Through the Fire and Flames

    (I think, after all, most of it did sound the same)

    Iron Maiden Setlist

    1. Satellite 15... The Final Frontier
    2. El Dorado
    3. 2 Minutes to Midnight
    4. The Talisman
    5. Coming Home
    6. Dance of Death
    7. The Trooper
    8. The Wicker Man
    9. Blood Brothers
    10. When the Wild Wind Blows
    11. The Evil That Men Do
    12. Fear of the Dark
    13. Iron Maiden
    14. The Number of the Beast
    15. Hallowed Be Thy Name
    16. Running Free

    Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven
  • Top 100 Albums of All Time (July 2011 Edition) (as chosen by voters)

    20 Jul 2011, 19:33 by adg211288

    My website, Heavy Metal Haven, runs on on-going top 100 albums of all time feature for our members to vote in. Here I share the top 10 of the 2nd Edition of the list, published on 15th July 2011.

    1. Megadeth - Rust In Peace (156 Points)


    2. Iron Maiden - Powerslave (140 Points)

    Tags: , ,

    3. Metallica - Master of Puppets (114 Points)


    4. Pharaoh - The Longest Night (103 Points)

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    5. Metallica - Ride the Lightning (93 Points)


    6. Metallica - Kill 'Em All (89 Points)


    7. Ayreon - Into the Electric Castle (75 Points)

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    8. Black Sabbath - Paranoid (71 Points)

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    9. Blind Guardian - Tales From The Twilight World (70 Points)

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    9. Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death (70 Points)

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    View the rest of the list here - why? because I don't have the willpower to link all those artist and album pages

    RE: This List Sucks!!!

    It is a collaborative list, that is open to any genre of music. This edition had 22 contributions. Heavy Metal Haven is always updating it (well, whenever an update is warranted at least). If you are unhappy with the list, then I personally invite you to Register with us and leave a list of up to 30 albums in the appropriate forum topic. Please do not run down the list without at least being prepared to contribute to it. Thank you for your understanding.

    I reserve the right to remove any comments on this entry that do not respect this.

  • Heavy Metal Haven's Top 50 Albums of 2010

    2 Feb 2011, 18:23 by adg211288

    My Metal/Rock forum Heavy Metal Haven, recently finished voting on the top albums of 2010. The following list if a collective opinion from 15 people. My personal Top 20 may be viewed HERE.

    1. Blind Guardian - At the Edge of Time

    2. Accept - Blood of the Nations

    3. Haken - Aquarius

    4. Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier

    5. Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age

    6. Winterhorde - Underwatermoon

    7. Wuthering Heights - Salt

    8. Kiuas - Lustdriven

    9. Carach Angren - Death Came Through A Phantom Ship

    10. Ihsahn - After

    11. Fejd - Eifur
    12. SIG:AR:TYR - Godsaga
    13. Myrath - Desert Call
    14. Ancient Bards - The Alliance Of The Kings
    15. James LaBrie - Static Impulse
    16. Alcest - Écailles de lune
    17. Atlantean Kodex - The Golden Bough
    18. Atheist - Jupiter
    18. Firewind - Days Of Defiance
    20. Avantasia - The Wicked Symphony
    21. Helstar - Glory of Chaos
    22. Kamelot - Poetry Of The Poisoned
    23. Tarja - What Lies Beneath
    24. Arryan Path - Terra Incognita
    24. Overkill - Ironbound
    26. Section A - Sacrifice
    27. Skiltron - The Highland Way
    28. Dark Tranquillity - We are the Void
    29. Sabaton - Coat of Arms
    30. Ghost - Opus Eponymous
    31. Panic Room - Satellite
    32. Dimmu Borgir - Abrahadabra
    33. Solution .45 - For Aeons Past
    34. Exodus - Exhibit B: The Human Condition
    35. Grand Magus - Hammer Of The North
    36. Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit
    36. Avantasia - Angel of Babylon
    38. Pathfinder - Beyond The Space, Beyond The Time
    39. Auvernia - Afraid of Me
    39. Mostly Autumn - Go Well Diamond Heart
    39. Virgin Steele - The Black Light Bacchanalia
    42. Barren Earth - Curse Of The Red River
    42. Rhapsody of Fire - The Frozen Tears Of Angels
    42. Triptykon - Eparistera Daimones
    45. Whispered - Thousand Swords
    46. Circle - Rautatie
    46. Death Angel - Relentless Retribution
    46. Fear Factory - Mechanize
    46. Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR
    46. Pretty Maids - Pandemonium

    Please see here to see how many points each release received.

    List of participants (Heavy Metal Haven user names)

    Time Signature
    4 8 15 16 23 42
  • My Top 20 Albums of 2010

    18 Jan 2011, 21:37 by adg211288

    Welcome to my top albums of 2010 journal entry! Comments and recommendations welcome!

    The list is, obviously and always, subject to change.

    1. Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age
    2. Haken - Aquarius
    3. Blind Guardian - At the Edge of Time
    4. Wuthering Heights - Salt
    5. Winterhorde - Underwatermoon
    6. Fejd - Eifur
    7. Ancient Bards - The Alliance Of The Kings
    8. Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier
    9. Tarja - What Lies Beneath
    10. Panic Room - Satellite
    11. Carach Angren - Death Came Through A Phantom Ship
    12. Kiuas - Lustdriven
    13. Accept- Blood of the Nations
    14. Alter Bridge - AB III
    15. SIG:AR:TYR - Godsaga
    16. Avantasia - The Wicked Symphony
    17. Myrath - Desert Call
    18. Ihsahn - After
    19. Atlantean Kodex - The Golden Bough
    20. Mostly Autumn - Go Well Diamond Heart

    My metal/rock forum, Heavy Metal Haven, has recently finished voting on a collective top albums for 2010. The results will be shared through Last.fm soon.

  • Star One - Victims of the Modern Age - a Review

    29 Oct 2010, 19:10 by adg211288

    Star OneVictims of the Modern Age

    Victims Of The Modern Age is the second studio album by Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One project, and it marks the first time that Lucassen has done a second album with any of his personal projects that wasn’t his Ayreon project, which he put on ice after the release of the retrospective collection Timeline, in order to focus on other projects, of which Victims of the Modern Age is also the second, following last year’s On This Perfect Day by Lucassen’s latest project, Guilt Machine.

    Victims of the Modern Age’s predecessor, Space Metal, was released in 2002, and the prospect of a new album by Star One has been a hot topic for debate amongst Lucassen’s fans. Among the most popular questions asked, other than the main ‘will it happen?’ question, were ‘will the singers be the same?’, ‘what movies will the album be based on?’ and ‘what will it be called?’ Obviously the latter is ‘Star One – Victims of the Modern Age’ and not Star Two and/or Space Metal II.

    To clear up the first question then, yes the singers are the same, at least on the main album, the bonus disc features some additional singers. Just for those reading this who are new to the Star One project, Star One has four main singers, those being Russell Allen (Symphony X), Damian Wilson (Threshold), Floor Jansen (ex-After Forever, ReVamp), and Dan Swanö (Nightingale, Edge of Sanity et all). The Bonus disc features vocals from Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath), Mike Andersson (Cloudscape), Rodney Blaze (who has sang on the Ayreon project) and Arjen himself.

    So what about the movies? Well this time Arjen has focused on post-apocalyptic and dystopia science-fiction movies and TV shows over those set in space. They are as follows:

    Down the Rabbit Hole (Intro song, though clearly Alice in Wonderland)
    Digital Rain - The Matrix
    Earth That Was - Firefly
    Victim of the Modern Age - A Clockwork Orange
    Human See, Human Do - Planet of the Apes
    24 Hours - Escape from New York
    Cassandra Complex - 12 Monkeys
    It's Alive, She's Alive, We're Alive - Children of Men
    It All Ends Here - Blade Runner
    As the Crow Dies – The Road
    Two Plus Two Equals Five – Nineteen Eighty-Four
    Lastday – Logan’s Run
    Closer to the Stars - Gattaca

    And so onto the music itself. Victims of the Modern Age is a very different album to Space Metal. It’s heavier in its delivery. Where Space metal had some songs which were more commercially orientated like Songs of the Ocean, that aspect of Star One is gone on Victims of the Modern Age. After the intro track, Down the Rabbit Hole, it’s almost always a full throttle metal album. While it still has its lighter moments it’s very clear what Lucassen set out to do here, and the results are nothing short of amazing.

    That said, I personally found some of the songs of the album needed a few listens to properly appreciate. Maybe that was because I’ve owned Space Metal for years and as full songs started getting release by Lucassen prior to the album’s release, I was expecting something with the same feel as that album, and what we have here is something with its own identity rather than being Space Metal Part II – a good thing, but nevertheless, it threw me. Sure, when you get into the sound of Victims of the Modern Age it is very much Star One (it was a good choice by Lucassen to use the same four singers), but Lucassen hasn’t made the same album twice.

    I previously stated that Victims of the Modern Age is very much a metal album, so much that one of its biggest surprises was that Dan Swanö performs some death growls on the tracks Victim of the Modern Age and Human See, Human Do. Space Metal featured no such vocals, although Lucassen had previously utilised them on several Ayreon albums. The growls are featured sparingly, Swanö performs his clean vocals much more often, but I have to bring attention to them as I think that when used they fit the theme of the songs, whereas on Space Metal they would not have done. I haven’t actually seen the films that these two songs are based on, but being familiar with other post-apocalyptic and dystopian science-fiction films and literature, it’s a lot darker in tone than much of sources for Space Metal were. Characters in such stories have good reason to really scream with rage so why not use the death growls? They set the mood perfectly.

    That’s not to say that the clean vocals don’t fit, they do, and every singer on the album provides an excellent performance. Everyone is at the top of their game and that’s just one of the reasons why Victims of the Modern Age is so good. One complaint I had about Space Metal was that Floor Jansen seemed to be underused, something that has now been rectified, although she isn’t so prominent in early songs Digital Rain and Earth That Was. Russell Allen as always can be relied upon to be nothing short of amazing, but it’s Damian Wilson that really shines on Victims of the Modern Age.

    The compositions themselves are among the best pieces that Lucassen has ever written. Despite being more riff based than Ayreon, Victims of the Modern Age comes across as quite atmospheric, with notable moments being some really frantic synth sounds to back Dan’s tortured sounding growls in Human See, Human Do (the synths contribute a lot to the overall atmosphere) and some all round epic chorus sections in every song going. In the final track on the main album, titled It All Ends Here, Lucassen throws one of the albums few light and melodic sections with something that can only be described as being very Pink Floydian. There’s some moments within the albums instrumentation in 24 Hours that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Ayreon’s debut album, The Final Experiment.

    With not a duff moment on the album, its fifty-three minute duration seems to pass in the blink of an eye. That makes it difficult to separate favourite tracks from the album for me, they are all insanely good in their own way. If I had to pick a top three it mostly likely have to be Human Se, Human Do, Earth That Was and It All Ends Here, although I’m kind of bias towards that last one since Blade Runner is one of my favourite films. Cassandra Complex comes very close to that top three.

    If I have to be negative in any way about Victims of the Modern Age, it would have to be an identical complaint to one I had for Space Metal, and many other albums by a wide variety of artists, and that is the presence of an intro track. Down the Rabbit Hole may flow into Digital Rain very well (in the way which Lift-off went into Set Your Controls on Space Metal), but in general this piece of music is somewhat unnecessary. I’ll say what I usually do in these cases, just make the intro music the actual intro to the first song as one track. This isn’t really a criticism to affect the score I’m going to give this album though, in fact I’m being very boring by bringing it up every time such things happen on an album, but with albums like this one, it’s the one thing I can find to be critical about.

    I once said, in my own review for Space Metal actually, that Star One paled when put up next to Ayreon. I’m beginning to regret those words. I still prefer Ayreon, admittedly it’s much easier to prefer the project that has many more albums to enjoy, but with Victims of the Modern Age Arjen Lucassen has given the world an album to rival much of his Ayreon material. I expected a solid album when this was first announced, Arjen rarely disappoints with his albums, but I wasn’t expecting what Victims of the Modern Age turned out to be, which is, in a word: Masterpiece.

    There also exists a 2CD version of Victims of the Modern Age, containing an additional five songs, four originals and one cover of an Emerson, Lake & Palmer song called Knife Edge. It is quite different from the main album since only the cover song features the usual vocalists, the four additional originals all feature a single singer with the exception of Two Plus Two Equals Five, where Dan Swanö is present.

    First up here is As the Crow Dies, which features an opening that isn’t too dissimilar to the sounds used on Ayreon’s 01011001. Vocals here are handled by Cloudscapes Mike Andersson. He’s a pretty god singer and can certainly hold his own here, though it is a little unusual to be listening to a Star One song with just a single vocalist and if I’m honest there’s moments in this one that I imagine would have suited Russell or Damian better. Following track Two Plus Two Equals Five is something entirely different, the synths in the intro here wouldn’t really sound out of place in an electronic group. Again there is a just vocalist, this one falling to Rodney Blaze. He’s a relative unknown here, though fans of Ayreon should recognise him from the 2005 bonus disc from The Final Experiment special edition, where he sang a version of The Accusation section of The Banishment. Dan Swanö is also on this track however, doing some very deep and instantly recognisable vocals. It’s a very strong track, and works well for Rodney Blaze even on his own (he’s definitely the lead vocalist here over Dan), which is why I prefer it to As the Crow Dies, though don’t let that make you think that As the Crow Dies isn’t a good song, it is, it just would have been better with the main vocal cast.

    Lastday features some hippy on vocals...but it’s another strong track. Joking aside, Arjen really needs to stop underrating himself as a vocalist. While it may be true that he’s no Russell Allen or Bruce Dickinson in terms of power, he has a very pleasant voice, which works very well in this song’s generally slower, sometimes almost doom influenced style. The main thing with this one is that it doesn’t really feel like Star One, more like Ayreon, even though lyrically it’s definitely Star One style.

    Closer to the Stars is one of the biggest highlights of the bonus disc. Tony Martin, the singer who fronted Black Sabbath for many years takes the vocalist position here and while I’m not personally very familiar with his era in Sabbath (those albums being typically hard to get and all), he really knocks out a belter of a performance here and he also helped to write the track. While it may be true that Russell Allen in particular could have done this song just as well, I don’t actually miss the absence of the normal vocalists on this one so much, though again, with just one vocalist it doesn’t feel Star One style so much, though neither does this one feel particularly Ayreon either, it’s something different and it’s something very good.

    Final bonus track is the cover. The four main vocalists are back with this one but as a cover it’s naturally different to Arjen’s originals. It’s good, but pales in comparison to all the other material on offer on Victims of the Modern Age.


    This review was originally written for Heavy Metal Haven and is reproduced on Last.fm by the original author. Copyright Heavy Metal Haven 2010.

  • Music discoveries of June & July 2010

    19 Aug 2010, 11:30 by adg211288

    Somehow I never got around to writing a music discoveries journal for June, so this month I present a double edition covering the last two months, and even now, this has been pretty delayed. Apologies! Now let's aet on with this entry.

    My discoveries have been few and far between recently, so there's not as many bands to talk about as you may expect.

    Chastain are a band with female vocals. I got into them because their second and current vocalist Kate French is also the singer for the band Vainglory whom I discovered a few months back and she's one of my favourite female vocalists. Truth is, I actual prefer the band's previous singer Leather Leone to Kate in Chastain. I got their album The Voice of the Cult in a local record shop, and I quickly followed this with the albums In an Outrage and The 7th of Never. I think that The Voice of the Cult remains my favourite though, but I'd like to get more sometime from both eras of the band.

    From that same aforementioned shop I also got an album on the cheap by the band Virgin Steele. I'd known of them previous due to them being discussed on my forum, but I hadn't got around to checking them out. So when I saw The House Of Atreus: Act II sitting in the shop for a mere £3 I thought I'd have it. And I must say it's an awesome record. Definitely going to be wanting to pick up more by these guys sometime.

    Heavens Gate was yet another band I found in that shop. These guys aren't about anymore but I was aware of them due to mentions on my forum and because of their guitarist Sascha Paeth being involved with Avantasia. The album I found was Livin' in Hysteria . Another awesome find for just £3. It's official, this shop rules, wish there was more like it around.

    Now for some disocveries that came from YouTube. This guy has made a series of videos promoting power metal bands and I found two really awesome discoveries from his first video, which I'm going to paste in here for your enjoyment.

    The two bands from this video I want to mention most are Rebellion and Black Abyss. Rebellion in particular have caught my attention. Great power metal with rougher vocals than many bands. At times the vocalist reminds me of Iced Earth's Matt Barlow. I recently bought their album Miklagard - History Of The Vikings Part II and I think it's one of the best power metal albums I own. Just the other day I also ordered their Arise: From Ginnungagap To Ragnarok - History of the Vikings, Vol. III album but it hasn't arrived yet. I'm told it's also awesome though. Black Abyss seem a bit more obscure to get albums by, hopefully one day I'll be able to track down their Land of Darkness album.

    Grand Magus was another great band I finally checked out properly. I need to check out more of them yet though, but their album Iron Will was damn awesome.

    Until next time


  • Blind Guardian - At the Edge of Time - A review

    29 Jul 2010, 20:04 by adg211288

    At the Edge of Time is Blind Guardian's first album in four years, following 2006’s A Twist in the Myth. Here Blind Guardian have both continued to evolve their sound and pay tribute to their speed metal roots. The mix of influences and styles for songs here reminds me of the Somewhere Far Beyond and Imaginations From The Other Side era, while adding in their more recent progressive tendencies for good measure. There is also an occasional symphonic element here, especially in the first track Sacred Worlds.

    This song previous appeared as Sacred for the RPG Sacred 2: Fallen Angel computer game. At the time Blind Guardian had been known to state that it would be released as a bonus track when they did another album. Evidently something has changed since then, since Sacred Worlds is like Sacred 2.0, longer, better and with an orchestral intro and outro which is anything but half-arsed. It makes me really look forward to the orchestral project that the band has been going on about for some time, something that I was previously apprehensive about. Sacred Worlds last for over nine minutes but despite its length it never bores. The way the traditional metal instruments blend into it as the intro is coming to an end is done to perfection. It’s symphonic, it’s progressive and it’s powerful, definitely the right choice for an opening track. Blind Guardian made a good decision here to not just shove Sacred in as a bonus track.

    Speaking of progressive influence, progressive metal is something that Blind Guardian can definitely be identified with these days. This is not only evident with Sacred Worlds but also other songs, especially Road no Release, which is the albums third track. At first listen it may not sound progressive but then you get deeper into it, and you hear that’s there’s a lot more going on here, from the piano led intro to the epic chorus and somewhat crazy solo, it’s definitely another highlight.

    Blind Guardian have brought some speed metal influence back with At the Edge of Time, something which becomes evident early on with the second track, Tanelorn (Into the Void). Ride into Obsession and later with A Voice in the Dark (the lead single from the album). They’re not as speed influenced as their older songs, even ones such as I’m Alive from Imaginations from the Other Side, but that’s okay since they’re very solid songs and provide some good variety between the album’s shifting moods. Ride Into Obsession is definitely the best of the speed metal influenced songs, and it also has a very progressive feel to it when it suddenly loses pace and builds up again, done in such a way that just gives it more impact. This, along with ballad War of the Thrones is one of the shorter songs on the album, though it doesn’t fall far short of five minutes. It’s a song that has real punch to it. A future live favourite? I’d put money on it.

    Taking things down a notch Blind Guardian have also included a couple of extremely folksy songs, namely Curse My Name and War of the Thrones. The former of these has the same sort of quality as A past and Future Secret from Imaginations from the Other Side. I once remarked of this song as Blind Guardian with their lutes in the tavern with Hansi the Bard entertaining the patrons, and Curse My Name is definitely on their set list. Even though it’s not a metal song I’ll certainly be considering it a highlight of At the Edge of Time. As for War of the Thrones we heard this one on the A Voice in the Dark single, but branded as an acoustic version in contract to this, the piano version. Don’t expect a full piano version though because it’s only piano led, many elements of the song are the same between the two versions, especially in the fact that it has no less an atmosphere as the acoustic version (acoustic guitars are also still present). Which is better? Well I must say that personally I think the acoustic version has a slight edge of the piano version, not much of one but that’s probably the only fault on the album.

    Other tracks such as Valkyries blend styles. For the most part this one feels very much power metal but a folk influence has crept it and crops up every so often. A bit of speed creeps in to. Despite the range of styles in it it’s one of the least progressive songs the album has to offer. Following Valkyries is Control the Divine, a solid song but not a highlight. In fact it gets my vote as weakest from At the Edge of Time, not because it’s weak, it’s not but for some reason it just doesn’t jump out at me or make the same impact as the others.

    They save what is probably the most innovative track to last though: Wheel of Time. Bringing back those symphonic leanings from Sacred Worlds it goes further into experimental and progressive territory, this song has a very prominent Middle Eastern feel to it. Folksy in an entirely different way to the folk songs Curse my Name and War of the Thrones. It’s another highlight and a great way to end the album. It’s like all influences come together here, power, prog, speed, symphonic folk; Wheel of Time has it all. Hansi’s vocals in this song hark back to A Night at the Opera as well, epic indeed.

    So is At the Edge of Time any good? Hell yes, I think it’s the best thing they’ve done since Imaginations from the Other Side. But one thing I will say about it, it’s a grower. At first I was slightly disappointed by the album, but as I listened to it more and more, I began to get into more and only then did I truly realise what a gem of an album At the Edge of Time is. It is an album to rival their classics from the speed metal days. I don’t think it tops them, but it gives them a run for their money. Highly recommended.

    This review was originally written for Heavy Metal Haven and is reproduced on Last.fm by the original author. Copyright Heavy Metal Haven 2010.

  • Music discoveries of December 2009

    29 Dec 2009, 22:10 by adg211288

    The first in a regular journal which I thought I might take up writing.

    The best discovery for me this month was Transatlantic - a band which I'd been meaning to check out for some time because they share a drummer with Dream Theater in Mike Portnoy. One of their vocalists is also Neal Morse of Spock's Beard fame, neither of which I am really a fan of but I do like his voice, having heard him sing on an Ayreon song. Anyway I managed to check out their latest offering The Whirlwind, an album which features a 77 minute song on its main disc, with 4 originals and 4 covers on the special edition bonus disc. It's well worth owning for the main disc, though the extra stuff isn't bad in its own right. It's definitely one of the best albums I've heard from this year and the band has made such an impression on me I've ordered all three of their studio albums, SMPTe, Bridge Across Forever and the aforementioned The Whirlwind.

    Another great discovery this month was Pharaoh, a power metal band, who had a thread made about them in my forum and I managed to get a hold of their most recent offering Be Gone. The band has re-kindled my interest in power metal and hope to see some recommendations in the comments section here. This discovery is also to thank for the next one.

    Control Denied. The prog/power metal band formed by the late Chuck Schuldiner of Death fame. Same singer as Pharaoh, which was what finally got me around to checking them out, as I'd been meaning to for ages, being a fan of Death already.

    Most recently I got around to checking out the music of Doro. Only just started listening this evening but I've been checking out the full tracks on her Last.fm page and sounding really good, classic heavy metal.

    Amberian Dawn - a symphonic power metal act. Just been checking out their first album River of Tuoni. Good vocals, good riffs. Managed to get their debut off of Play.com for the great price of £3.60, because apparently the CD case has a small crack in it. Big deal, I'll be having that!

    Also did some re-discovering this month, the bands in question being Blind Guardian and Alice in Chains. I've had at least 1 albums by each of them but got my backside in gear to get some more Blind Guardian recently, buying the albums Follow The Blind, Somewhere Far Beyond, and Imaginations From The Other Side. For Alice in Chains in my opinion they made the album of the year with Black Gives Way to Blue, which made me order copies of Dirt and Alice in Chains, which completes my collection of their full length albums (when they come through my letter box anyway), with just the Sap EP missing from the major releases.

    Until next month,

  • Darkology - Altered Reflections Review

    15 Jan 2010, 20:16 by adg211288

    Darkology - Altered Reflections

    Altered Reflections is the debut album from Darkology, a progressive metal act featuring many established names from the metal scene, such as band mastermind Michael Harris (Arch Rival, Thought Chamber et all) and features the vocals of Kelly ‘Sundown’ Carpenter, previously heard singing with Beyond Twilight and Outworld. Brian Harris (brother of Michael) and Mike Neal completely the line-up.

    After a short intro track (I make no secret of hating intro tracks and to be honest this is no exception, but for this album I’ll make an exception and let that pass based on just how awesome the actual songs are, and also it is one of the better intro’s I’ve heard), Violent Vertigo begins with an insanely awesome riff, which sets the standard for the rest of the album. While many prog bands (rock and metal) with employ the use of keyboards, Darkology’s music is also about the heaviness of the guitars and the complexity of the riffs. Sundown’s vocals fit into the mix really well, giving them that sort of epic sound associated with power metal, so it would be fair to brand them as progressive power metal but it’s my personally opinion that the vocals is as far as the power metal part of Darkology goes, the music is prog all over.

    I would normally separate a few highlights from an album to talk about right about now, but that is very difficult to do with Darkology’s Altered Reflections, simply because, intro track aside, this album does not have a single flaw. Every song is as addictive as the last and each has its own identity, which considering that the band do not fall into the ‘hey let’s start hopping between genres’ prog metal; always applying the same winning formula to the writing, just goes to show how well they’ve put this together. I seriously have not been able to go a day without listening to at least a few tracks from it, and I usually play it all in one hit. I already have 99 plays of them on my Last.fm account in about a week since getting the CD, and you know what? This is going to be an album that I will continue to listen to for a long time. I hope these guys stick around, because as great as Altered Reflections is it is so tantalisingly good that I need more. So please, as a personal plea, check them out and go buy their album if you like it.

    Highlights: Everything


    The review was originally posted on Heavy Metal Haven and is reproduced on Last.fm by the original author. Copyright 2009 Heavy Metal Haven.

  • Music discoveries of January 2010

    1 Feb 2010, 21:41 by adg211288

    It has been a good month. This entry has the potential to be very long given the sheer amount of music I have discovered this month so let's start with some discoveries than came from a favourite of last month, that being Transatlantic.

    Spock's Beard - the former band of Transatlantic member Neal Morse, and through that his solo work. Of particular note I loved the albums V and Snow from the Morse era Spocks, but I quite liked their post Morse album Octane as well. As for Morse's solo stuff, Sola Scriptura and One were fantastic pieces of prog rock. Also starting checking out The Flower Kings, a band which features Transatlantic's Roine Stolt, but still quite new to them.

    Easily the best metal release I found was Altered Reflections by Darkology, which my review for may be found here, rather than repeat everything I said here, if interested, please have a read.

    Also on the prog front I've been inpressed by the work of Anubis Gate, particularly their 3rd album Andromeda Unchained, of which I've got a copy on order. Also Beyond Twilight and Outworld, both bands which have features Darkology vocalist Kelly Sundown Carpenter in the past, with the former also featuring Jorn Lande on their first album, The Devil's Hall Of Fame, which is one album I definitely need to get at some point. There was also Pathosray, whose latest release Sunless Skies has greatly impressed me, especially the track The Coldest Lullaby, which I'm quite addicted to.

    On the gothic front, I've loved the sound of Coronatus. I don't get into many gothic metal bands but I find this one to be more unique due to their use of two female singers with different voice types and singing in three different languages (English, German and Latin).

    I also found three projects by the same guy, one Hugo Flores, these being Factory of Dreams, Project Creation and Sonic Pulsar. Of the three I think Sonic Pulsar is my favourite, really interesting sound. Not heard a lot of Project Creation yet but what I did sounds good.

    On the ambient side of things I've been enjoying the music of Altus, whose music is for the most part legally free to download. Thanks to Razor745 for telling me about it.

    There have been others this month, but those are the main ones. Others I found may get mention in further editions of this journal as I get into them more.

    Thanks to anyone who reads, I hope you find something you like.