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 Vincent Price SHRUNKEN HEAD Apple Sculpture by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Vincent Price SHRUNKEN HEAD Apple Sculpture
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars PIKE 313 - Vincent Price SHRUNKEN HEAD Apple Scultpure 11th installment of 2022 Everything played by BUCKETHEAD Total playing time 27 minutes and 39 seconds All instrumental as always!

Whether you love him or hate him, you cannot deny that ole BUCKY has some of the most outrageously creative album titles! Here's just the latest example. PIKE 313 is titled VINCENT PRICE SHRUNKEN HEAD APPLE SCULPTURE and features seven equally silly track names. Most find the words SHRUNKEN HEAD or have something to do with the theme. Of course with all instrumental tracks it's just word games as the music itself has little to nothing to do with the theme but such is the life in BUCKETHEADLAND!

'Turn Apples Into SHRUNKEN HEADS' takes on a rather typical alternative metal guitar riffing style with that atmospheric backdrop that adds a smoothness to the guitar distortion. This general riffing session alternates with a heavier rock guitar heft without the atmospheric touches. Basically heavy blues rock mixed with alt metal. Nothing new under the sun in BH LAND. Generic and blah.

'Having a SHRUNKEN HEAD is Like Having Halloween All Year Round' is heavier with thrash metal chugging and accompanying bass and drum stomps. Then the guitar gets weird in a fast and furious way. Sounds like a buzzsaw gone rogue. The track keeps a Pantera-esque groove metal thrashing heft to it for the track's entirety however there is a nice moment of the volume freaking out and the crunchiness of the guitar is overall quite pleasing.

'Apple Sculpture' starts a bunch of shorter tracks. This one is less metal and more blues rock with some funky bass grooves. Basically like a gazillion other BH tracks in the PIKE world. Nice funk guitar breakdown though.

'Create Your Own Collection of Delightful SHRUNKEN HEADS' jumps back into a heavier metal motif with aggressive guitar riffs and then a freaky distortion. This one is actually sort of clever and unlike other PIKEs. Nice freaky time signature changes. This is prog metal with the emphasis on strange knotty workouts.

'You'll Find SHRUNKEN HEAD Apple Sculpture Kits Wherever Toys and Crafts Are Sold' is a slower metal track with slower bass grooves and guitar chords but the distortion is loud and violent. Then it starts those spidery riffs that slowly build with the atmospheric backdrop adding some ambience. This could be considered a power ballad i guess. OK but less enthralling than the faster tracks it follows.

'Buy Your Kit Now and Get a Head-Start' is a short track barely over a minute but features a wild freakout of sounds and palm muted guitar riffs. Short and to the point but nothing terribly exciting.

'Vincent Price SHRUNKEN HEAD Apple Sculpture Kit' jumps into blues based hard rock / heavy metal that sounds like glam metal from the 80s. At least from a guitarist's point of view. Would be perfect if there was a screaming vocalist along for the ride but no such luck. Not bad but also sounds incomplete.

Despite the cleverness of the PIKE titles and tracks, BH rarely lives up to the same creativity in the musical deliveries. This is an average PIKE with some great moments and many average. Overall this one is hit and miss with the strongest tracks being the most metal amongst them. After a few PIKEs that offered some insanity which i love the most, seems like BH is back to the 'normal' PIKE sounds.

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 Secret of the Runes by THERION album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.93 | 125 ratings

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Secret of the Runes
Therion Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

4 stars Just one year after releasing a solid but somewhat lacklustre album like Deggial, Therion are back with what many consider the high point of their whole discography: Secret of the Runes. A concept album centred around the nine worlds of Norse mythology, Runes is a massive step-up relative to the band's previous releases, which improves and expands their blend of symphonic metal in multiple directions. There are a number of reasons for this advancement.

First, Therion are now a proper band rather than a solo project by Christofer Johnsson. Brothers Johan and Kristian Niemann (bass and guitar, respectively) and drummer Sami Karppinen had joined Johnsson already for the recording of Deggial in 2000. Although on Runes Johnsson retains control of most of the songwriting and arrangements, there are contributions from the other band members too (Kristian Niemann is credited as co-writer of the opening track "Ginnungagap") and, more generally, one gets the feeling that the ensemble now sounds more like a band, with more nuanced and personalized arrangements for the rock instruments and more freedom in terms of performances (more guitar solos, more drum fills). In short, there is more depth to the band's performance than on the preceding couple of albums (Vovin, Deggial), which were instead largely a Christofer Johnsson solo affair.

Second, the sound production has also improved on this album. This may sound strange since, for the recording of Runes, Therion actually transitioned from the famous Woodhouse Studios, where they had worked with renowned engineer and producer Siggi Bemm, to their very own, newly built Modern Art Studios, where they instead relied on in-house engineering (Karppinen, K. Niemann, Johnsson) and production. Mixing and mastering duties were instead assigned to Mikko Karmila and Mika Jussila (Amorphis, Childreon of Bodom, Nightwish, among many others). The album sounds much better than Vovin or Deggial, which were both recorded and produced at Woodhouse Studios. One difference between these albums is that on Runes the drum sound is lighter and drier and the drums are placed further back in the mix, so that they are less "in-your-face". This is great because Therion's songs often rely on simple grooves, which can make the music feel sluggish and undynamic when the drums dominate the mix. The arrangements are also airier and more spacious, which contributes to make Runes an easier and more immediately likeable album than the dark and oppressive Deggial or the occasionally rigid Vovin.

Ultimately, though, the superiority of Runes comes down to better, more inspired songwriting. The songs are varied and dynamic, moving between different sections and moods. This is a major improvement over previous albums, where often the same riffs were repeated over and over, making the songs feel monolithic and static. The vocal arrangements are also more varied. In some songs, Johnsson wrote counterpoint and multipart vocals melodies ("Jotunheim"; "Nifelheim"), and in general I get the feeling that more attention has been paid to the alternation between male and female vocals that in many occasions engage in playful duets ("Asgard"). Most importantly, the signers are finally given vocal melodies that are catchy and memorable. This is a huge difference relative to many of the songs that were recorded for Deggial, where the vocal parts were particularly lacklustre. Songs like "Ginnugagap", "Midgard" and "Asgard" feature some of the best melodies that Johnsson has written up to this point in his career. Some may miss the fact that on Runes Johnsson ended the tradition of writing songs with metal vocals mixed with the opera singing (the whole of Theli was built this way, as well as "The Wild Hunt" and "Flesh of the Gods" on Vovin and Deggial). Personally, I do not find this to be a problem, especially when the operatic vocals are given such quality melodies to sing.

There are many other aspects of the music and concept that contribute to make Runes a special album. The Norse mythology that inspired the concept of the album also influenced the songwriting, which features subtle but decisive folk influences on several tracks. The whole album has almost a Viking metal feel to it, with its icy atmospheres and at time raw choirs ("Nifelheim"). The use of different languages, including Johnsson's native Swedish, also contributes to the Nordic folk atmosphere of the album. Somewhat incongruently with the album's theme, Runes also contain two covers as bonus tracks, "Crying Days" by Scorpions and "Summernight City" by Abba. These tracks were recorded in 1999 with former Therion's drummer and singer Piotr Wawrzeniuk on vocals alongside the opera singers. Some people are disturbed by the fact that the inclusion of the two covers disrupts the concept of the album. I can see where they are coming from, but the two songs are objectively so good that I cannot help but be grateful for their inclusion on the album.

Despite all the great things one can hear on Runes, the album is not perfect. Its middle part tends to plod a little, with songs like "Schwarzalbenheim" and "Ljusalfheim" coming across as a tad too repetitive and uninventive. Part of the problem is that most songs on the album remain firmly in mid-tempo territory, which amplifies the sluggish feeling one has as soon as the quality drops a little. Sometimes I wish Johnsson would make more use of different tempos on his albums, to inject some dynamics and a sense of moving forward to the music which is sometimes lacking on Therion's records. However, despite the somewhat weaker mid-section, the album is quick to recover, with tracks like "Muspelheim", "Nifelheim" and "Helheim" providing stunning highlights, together with the opening trio of songs ("Ginnugagap", "Midgard" and "Asgard").

In conclusion, Secret of the Runes is one of the best albums in Therion's catalogue. If you are new to this band, this could be a great place to start (together with the breakthrough album Theli, of course). By the time this album was released, Christofer Johnsson had time to refine and perfect his skills at arranging songs that combine metal, classical music and operatic singing, and this clearly shows on the album. The vocal parts are catchy and memorable. The orchestral arrangements are merged seamlessly with the metal parts. The metal parts themselves are more dynamic than on previous albums, with richer and more accomplished performances by guitar, drums and keyboards. Add a touch of Nordic folk, and you have a nearly perfect album indeed!

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 Systematic Chaos by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.32 | 1835 ratings

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Systematic Chaos
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As a prog metal group who put a lot of stock in both the "prog" and the "metal" part of that term, Dream Theater have had a tendency over the years to follow up more progressive-leaning releases with harder-edged affairs. The band seem to spend much of their career walking a tightrope - why, they even included one on the cover of a later album! - and so once they've pushed hard in one direction, they tend to correct in the other direction rather than going too far in any one trajectory.

On Octavarium they pulled out an orchestra, something which prog bands had been doing as far back as 1967 (if you are willing to accept the Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed as a proto-prog release); thus, Systematic Chaos finds them trimming back to just the core band members. No guest instrumentalists are present at all: every note played is played by the band members, and every word is sung by just James LaBrie himself. The sole concession is that a large cast of friends of the band show up to provide spoken word contributions to Repentance, this album's episode of the multi-album Twelve-Step Suite by Mike Portnoy: as the title implies, it's a song about making amends for past mistakes, so a great number of musicians from the prog or metal world show up to record little apologies, regrets, and admissions of fault.

So much for the talking: what about the music? Though generally heavier than Octavarium, it feels like the band here are trying to show off just how diverse a sound they can deliver with just the five of them. Take The Dark Eternal Night, which has moments ranging from a Dream Theater approximation of nu-metal to a sort of prog- metal-jazz-fusion hybrid. Some aspects of Repentance feel like a nod to Porcupine Tree, which makes the presence of Steven Wilson on the track (he's providing one of the apologies) particularly apt.

Meanwhile, Prophets of War finds Dream Theater inspired once again by Muse, as they were on Octavarium, though I'm absolutely fine with that because as far as I am concerned by this point Dream Theater were doing that sort of very feverish sound better than Muse were. That said, I actually find it a weaker track - it's a little too much like a rehash of Never Enough from Octavarium - and one suspects the band aren't too keen on it either, since so far as I can tell it hasn't exactly been a live staple. (A quick check of setlist.fm suggests that they didn't even touch it live until 2009, and then dropped it from the set in 2010 and haven't picked it up since.)

Still, rounded off by two epics - The Ministry of Lost Souls and the second half of In the Presence of Enemies - the album comes to a pretty solid close, and whilst I don't think it's as consistent as Octavarium by some measure, it's still a very good release which finds Dream Theater going from strength to strength.

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 I'm in Your Mind Fuzz by KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.18 | 69 ratings

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I'm in Your Mind Fuzz
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Well I've decided to focus on Psychedelic music for a couple of months then continue with that but get back to the 2018 to 2022 albums I haven't reviewed yet as well, then back to psychedelia after that. I change my plans a lot, just sayin'. My first KING GIZZARD review! I remember well the buzz over these guys and the discussions on the site here. I remember thinking with a name like that and hearing they play garage Rock that I'll pass. Then of course they started to change their style to the point that they are no longer that garage band anymore. They are a seven piece band with Stu leading the charge and he apparently wanted to call the band GIZZARD GIZZARD but in the end he combined the suggestions of other band members with his. This particular album released in 2014 seems to be the one fans point to as being their first great record and I agree.

Unusual to have two drummers plus we get three guitarists, bass and harmonica. Stu one of the guitarists sings and adds flute and keyboards. The only song that wasn't completely composed by Stu is "Hot Water" where Joey one of the other guitarists helped out. This isn't exactly the style of psychedelia that I'm into. High energy for the most part with processed vocals reminding me of "On The Sunday Of Life" at times by PT. Lots of distortion and man I just love how the first four songs of the album are like one long song over 12 minutes long as these tracks blend into each other not missing a beat and keeping it in the same style. Common lyrics too just make side one a lot of fun. Love the song titles as we get "I'm In Your Mind" followed by "I'm Not In Your Mind" followed by "Cellophane" and "I'm In Your Mind Fuzz". I don't ever remember singing about cellophane before although I do have an album from 1970 by DAY OF PHOENIX that has a song called "Cellophane #1 & 2". Anyway those first four songs would be awesome live. I like the next one "Empty" quite a bit as they slow it down a notch and add flute. Nice guitar work before 3 minutes. Interesting how they change this one late.

"Hot Water" is energetic with high pitched vocals. Again a lot of fun with flute or vocals leading the way. "Am I In Heaven?" reminds me of early HAWKWIND where they were kind of folky with the acoustic guitar and that bluesy/psychedelia. Then it kicks in dramatically with blues harp and much more. On fire! "Slow Jam 1" is relaxed with laid back vocals. Nice bass before a minute. Sounds echo as it trips along. "Satan Speeds Up" opens with distortion as other sounds are added including flute and beats. Vocals around a minute and they are high pitched. The guitar is cool. "Her And I(Slow Jam 2)" ends it and we get synths on this one after the opening samples, strummed guitar and vocals. Catchy and mid paced. Sounds echo and we get fuzz as vocals come and go. Nice trippy sound before 5 minutes. Blues harp at 5 1/2 minutes and the vocals cry out after 6 minutes.

For sure 4 stars and I'm just getting started with an interesting adventure with these young Australians.

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 The Sound of the Seventh Bell by RED SAND album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.04 | 46 ratings

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The Sound of the Seventh Bell
Red Sand Neo-Prog

Review by coldwindblows

4 stars A massive fan of neo-prog and always on the look out for new discoveries, I found Red Sand years ago and listened to all the albums. There were some absolute gems but also some so-so moments on each album that left a sense of something missing as a whole.

THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL is a joy from start to finish. Beautiful sounds throughout, and I never skip a track or pick out selected ones. A similar thing happened for me with albums from Marillion and Millenium that were really hit and miss until they released FEAR / AN HOUR BEFORE IT'S DARK and THE SIN, where I loved all the tracks.

Great to enjoy a whole album for 60 mins.

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 Ultima Ratio by PROJECT: PATCHWORK album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.09 | 2 ratings

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Ultima Ratio
Project: Patchwork Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars Gerd ALBERS benefited from the help of many artists such as Jean PAGEAU (MYSTERY), Marek ARNOLD (TOXIC SMILE, SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR) and Martin SCHNELLA (FLAMING ROW) to release this 3. Ah I forgot Gerd c is this all-Teuton touch to the sound ranging from MOSTLY AUTUMN, ARENA, FLAMING ROW, TOXIC SMILE or the oldest ELOY and AYREON; refined prog with 6 different vocalists and 10 years of intriguing art-rock sound. He released this 3rd concept album talking about the pandemic, on a musical and societal reflection, a dark future transcribed into texts; here it is already the 5th wave and its increasingly inhumane measures. A more modern sound, accessible, less folkloric than its predecessor in which we throw ourselves.

"Ultima Ratio (Pt. I) Prologue" symphonic intro, on prog metal Ó la AYREON, latent and intoxicating, the title that makes you let go of the watts on your channel, very good start. "New Normality" return of this acoustic guitar bringing a conventional prog metal title on a sound of the latest PINK FLOYD where the singularity comes from the half-phrased, half-raped break confusing for a moment; the fat guitar solo afterwards raises the impression, it goes on VAI, MALMSTEEN, BLACKMORE, in short, only good with a fat and juicy synth as it should be in a hard melodic atmosphere. "Weeks of Sorrow" enjoyable entry on the highlighting of the drums, then a borderline AOR tune on this consensual melodic title well typed 80's for the fact. "Code Red" continues back to the acoustic guitar and the arrival of a feminine vocal pouring into the bucolic ballad which will go crescendo for a colorful finale Ó la MOSTLY AUTUMN. "Hope" for the acoustic-electric interlude, the title that gives all its letters of nobility to prog in general by editing these little gems.

"Dead-end Street" continues with the title which is likely to make everyone agree: more elaborate, heavier, more nervous, more in the metal prog movement of this decade. Pop verse set back then it goes with this riff that feels good; the heaviness of the air does not make me find analog sounds, which is a good thing after all; it plunges into the melodic metal of the 90's, the reminiscences are not too marked. Little more to the final solo and the magical voice of a great frontman also on his original group. "Depressed Sentiments" for the second romantic-folk ballad where the piano and the choirs can make you think of a watered down ALAN PARSONS , to a MAGENTA, a KARNATAKA, a bit cutesy and long. "Keepers of the Fire" continues with the title river intro sweet spleen with a melodic guitar solo then nervous prog metal break, on a tune reminiscent of FAITH NO MORE or TOKYO BLADE and RUSH for this characteristic phrasing; break again with the calm voice of Jean PAGEAU which brings warmth and velvety, yes we would eat it; his flute fascinates, a slight nod to the GENESIS of yesteryear in fact, the notes become crystalline then it takes off again for the last more symphonic third with this drum pad that never ends; the bewitching finale between soaring notes and mysterious sound filled with spleen, perhaps a hope for a positive ending, in short the perfect title. "Ultima Ratio (Pt. II) Epilogue" completes this set with the encore of the intro, a piece where the musical art becomes a therapy for this low world.

PROJECT PATCHWORK3 is therefore the musical concept that can be listened to easily, almost too accurately. Melodic, soft titles mixed with some more nervous ones can confuse the attentive listener picking up this rather puzzling difference; melodic yes, art rock yes, progressive music well formatted so as not to scare and have a good time, what more could you ask for to forget this pandemic for a while? A very beautiful album which shows that the two protagonists have taken advantage of this imposed confinement and in fact sign a very nice surprise.

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 The Devil's Hall Of Fame by BEYOND TWILIGHT album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.82 | 92 ratings

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The Devil's Hall Of Fame
Beyond Twilight Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

4 stars When his previous band, power metal act Twilight folded, Danish keyboard player Finn Zierler embarked in a new project, aptly named Beyond Twilight to mark a sort of continuity between the two bands. In fact, Beyond Twilight begin where Twilight ended: Zierler's new creature takes the power metal epicness of his former band and morphs it into a dark, progressive beast that may draw parallels with acts like Kamelot and Evergrey for the brooding, theatrical nature of the music on display. If you are however expecting a minor record that follows the footsteps of the aforementioned more well-known acts ? think again: The Devil's Hall of Fame is a stunning masterpiece that vastly surpasses most releases in the dark progressive/power metal genre. Here is why.

First of all, Beyond Twilight's line-up on this release can count on one of the most formidable singers in metal: His Majesty J°rn Lande. Here at the beginning of his lustrous career, the Norwegian vocalist combines the grit and power of Ronnie James Dio with the soulful delivery of David Coverdale. His performance on The Devil's Hall of Fame is absolutely spectacular, injecting power and feeling into beautiful vocal melodies that are catchy and instantly memorable, but never banal or boring. The rest of the lineup is also very solid. Bassist Anders Lindgren and drummer Tomas FredÚn, who had already played on Twilight's debut album, provide a reliable backbone that strikes the right balance between simple groove and intricate playing. Anders Kragh is a skilled and versatile guitarist who adapts his playing to suit the different needs of the music, from muscular no-frills riffs, to subtle melodic leads, to tricky technical passages and blazing solos ("Hellfire"). Beyond Twilight's mastermind Finn Zierler is also a very proficient player. I particularly enjoy the wide range of keyboard sounds and samples he employs on the album, and the use he makes of the instrument ? always very imaginative and inventive.

Strong musicianship counts for little without strong compositions. Fortunately, this album has both. Its eight tracks are exceptional examples of how to write keyboard-driven prog metal that is not just all technical twiddly bits and intricate songwriting, but also has feeling and depth. The intricacies of prog are certainly there, as most songs follow feature frequent tempo changes, plenty of instrumental detours, unusual melodic solutions (the suddenly uplifting second part of the chorus in "Shadowland"), and unexpected turns (the extravagant Latin choirs in the title-track and "Perfect Dark"). But each song is also cleverly anchored in excellent melodic ideas that hook you in and make the music immediately enjoyable and memorable. Credit here goes to both Zierler who composed and arranged all music, and Lande, who wrote the vocal melodies. I also dig the overall mood of the album, dark and ominous. It is a perfect match for the dystopian sci-fi concept that runs through the record, about a man who travels through the depths of his own mind and slowly loses grip with reality.

There are no dull moments on this album. Each song is a small gem, from the bleak and hyper-heavy "Godless and Wicked", to the hard rock accessibility of "Shadowland", to the two short, evocative instrumentals "The Devil's Waltz" and "Closing the Circle". My favourite songs are the title-track and the closing piece "Perfect Dark". The former is a sprawling epic that covers a lot of ground, traversing different moods and musical styles from its doomy first part to the proggy extravaganza that explodes halfway through the second half, in a way that reminds me of Arjen A. Lucassen's best (and heaviest) work with Ayreon and Star One. As per its title, "Perfect Dark" is a perfectly dramatic conclusion to this awesome album. Foreboding, slow and sinister, it is powered by a massive crescendo where J°rn Lande is at its absolute best.

In summary, if you are a fan of progressive metal ? especially its dark, melancholic variety ? you simply must listen to this album. I struggle to find things to criticize (perhaps the sound production is a bit thin), or to pinpoint better records in the genre than this. Instantly enjoyable and with great repeated listen value, The Devil's Hall of Fame is up there with the best music of Ayreon, Evergrey, and Kamelot. Beyond Twilight will go on to record two further albums, although Mr Lande will step down from his role as vocalist after this one. It's a pity, as his vocals clearly play a big role in making this record such a masterpiece. But the quality of the music is really high too, so I very much look forward to listening to Beyond Twilight's other two records as well.

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 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.93 | 486 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by WJA-K

4 stars Impressive. Groundbreaking. Highly Influential. Terms that often are uttered when people discuss 666.

I agree with these terms. But there's a caveat.

This is very much a product of its time. A product you know was fresh and inspiring in 1972, but that was 50 years ago. I'm not reviewing this album based on the impact 50 years ago.

Having said all of this, I like this album. I like the concept and the creativity. Some of the songs are stellar. I especially like Aegian Sea, the Four Horsemen and All the Seats Were Occupied.

But there are also some clunky lyrics and some awkward tracks. They make me decide not to give the maximum rating. Still, 4 stars is a great score in my book.

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 Malachai (Shadow Weaver Part2) by LEGENDARY PINK DOTS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.96 | 26 ratings

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Malachai (Shadow Weaver Part2)
The Legendary Pink Dots Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Here's a band who released their first studio album back in 1981 and they just released their latest in 2022, well over 40 studio albums along with a mass of live and compilation records. So where do you start? For my tastes the sweet spot is 1990-1995 but in my wheel house would include the late 80's to the early 00's. These guys ruled the 90's psychedelia airwaves and this particular release from 1993 is one of the reasons for that. Man their 90's stuff is where they get real inventive and experimental adding soundscape stuff and more. I actually thought of THE RESIDENTS a few times believe it or not.

Top five would include the opener "Joey The Canary" who cries "Is there still anybody out there!" I like that twisted guitar solo after 4 minutes. It begins with dark atmosphere and builds to a powerful sound with vocals joining in after 1 1/2 minutes. "Kingdom Of The Flies" is one I liked right away. Kind of folky with acoustic guitar, bass and vocals leading the way. A horn replaces the vocals for a while. It does turn dark and the vocals are haunting late. "Encore Une Fois" and Wildlife Estate" remind me of THE RESIDENTS. Third top five is "Pavane" opening with bass and keys before the atmosphere builds and the guitar joins in and echoes along with a horn. It's all so relaxed though. The sound of children can be heard after 3 minutes and it gets creepy late. Such a cool tune. Some of the craziest sax I've heard is on the almost 12 minute "Window Of The World". I mean I'm laughing when I hear this every time.

"We Bring The Day" is another top five and this one is 19 minutes long. Opening with a walking bass line we can hear things going on and people talking and this continues for some time as a beat joins in along with brief vibes. Violin takes the lead before 2 minutes as the sound builds. Blasting horns as the sound changes quickly. Dark is the word and atmospheric before 4 minutes but it brightens a minute later with strings and atmosphere. Child-like keys follow before 6 1/2 minutes as whimsical vocals join in with violin. A few moos along with other farm animals before 9 minutes then it's haunting and spacey before 11 1/2 minutes. A bass horn comes and goes then electronics later as it drones late. "Paris 4am" ends it and it's my final top five. Tons of atmosphere and a horn that solos and how about the snoring that ends it all. Hey it''s 4am it's time.

A very strong album and while this is part 2 to the "Shadow Weaver" album from the year before it doesn't take a back seat to it in fact I like this one better.

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 Images and Words by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.30 | 3069 ratings

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Images and Words
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review N║ 536

'Images And Words' is the second studio album of Dream Theater and was released in 1992. The album maintains its position as the band's most commercially successful studio album to date and it's also one of the best studio albums released by them until now. It represents a giant step from their debut studio album, in terms of quality and prog music.

It's the first Dream Theater's release to feature James LaBrie on vocals, who substituted Charlie Dominici, their previous and former vocalist and friend. After Dominici's departure from the group, they auditioned nearly 200 singers before James LaBrie sent the band an audition record tape. LaBrie was formerly a member of the Canadian metal band Winter Rose and after a short session, the group chose him as their lead vocalist and he stayed in the group until now.

So, the line up on the album is James LaBrie (lead vocals), John Petrucci (backing vocals and guitars), Kevin Moore (keyboards), John Myung (bass) and Mike Portnoy (drums and percussion).

'Images And Words' has eight tracks. All music was composed by Dream Theater except 'Wait For Sleep' with music by Moore. The first track 'Pull Me Under' with lyrics by Moore was the first single and opener for the album. According to the band this song was inspired by Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. It's a song that begins with a simple clean guitar riff, soon joined by keyboards and drums. The song gets heavier and the final result is an excellent opener to the album. The second track 'Another Day' with lyrics by Petrucci was originally meant to be the first single, but the band was against it, since it would give a completely false impression of the band's music. This is a very beautiful and melodic song, one of the best songs from the band in this soft style. A lot of people won't like the song, is far from a fan favourite, but sincerely I like the song very much. The third track 'Take The Time' with lyrics by Petrucci, Moore, Myung and Portnoy was the third single of the album. It wasn't as popular as the opening track 'Pull Me Under'. It's a real classic Dream Theater's song that starts with some great keyboards, before a simple bass line comes in. This song is jazzy, bluesy, epic and metal at the same time. The final result is a catchy but yet a technically complex song. The fourth track 'Surrounded' with lyrics by Moore apparently changed titles. It was 'The Longest Night' on promotional copies. A cool keyboard work opens the song, before LaBrie comes with some soft vocals joined soon by the bass and the guitar. Despite being not as catchy as some of other tracks on the album, it's not less beautiful and complex. The fifth track 'Metropolis ' Part I: The Miracle And The Sleeper' with lyrics by Petrucci is based on the story of Romulus and Remus the founders of the city of Rome. Contrary to common beliefs, it has no relation to the famous Fritz Lang film 'Metropolis'. This is pretty much recognized as a fan favourite song, for some many good reasons. It has heavy riff work, complex drumming, emotional lyrics and great abundance of time and mood changes. It's a track that Dream Theater can look back and be proud of it. The sixth track 'Under A Glass Moon' with lyrics by Petrucci is another excellent song that starts with heavy and slow guitar riffs, before Portnoy begins his amazing drumming and Myung comes in. It's also a great song for LaBrie, with him singing beautifully. It has also a great guitar solo by Petrucci. This is a great track with so many great elements on it. The seventh track 'Wait For Sleep' with lyrics by Moore is another song with a darker, emotional content, which fits the album very well. It's an extremely beautiful song with just piano and vocals, and serves as an intro into the last song, both musically and lyrically. It's a short song, a kind of a break to catch your breath after the previous two tracks, which somehow feels like the centre point of the album to me. The eighth track 'Learning To Live' with lyrics by Myung is a very special track for me. Fantastic is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of it. It's the lengthiest track on the album and is the greatest epic on it. This is a true astonishing piece with an incredible musical work by all band's members and with truly amazing musicianship. This is, without any doubt, the most progressive song on the album that ends perfectly well this excellent and historic album.

Conclusion: 'Images And Words' is, without any doubt, a great album with some of the best tracks ever made by Dream Theater that fits very well in the progressive rock music. Among the best musical moments of this amazing album, which features only eight songs but almost one hour of essential material, let's name, without any doubt, the two great epics of the album 'Metropolis ' Part I' and 'Learning To Live'. 'Pull Me Under', 'Take The Time', 'Under A Glass Moon' and 'Wait For The Sleep' are all great songs too. 'Another Day' and 'Surrounded' despite being also two good songs can be considered as fillers or even cheesy songs, now. However, I think we must judge the album as a whole. And as a whole, 'Images And Words' is truly a masterpiece and is also an historical album. So if you don't know that one yet, try it, and if you don't like it at first, listen to it again. When you fully digest it, certainly you'll enjoy it too.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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