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 Pepper's Ghost by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.12 | 7 ratings

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Pepper's Ghost
Buckethead Prog Related

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

3 stars After a few heavy albums dipping into the avant-garde world with progressive leanings and a few collaborative efforts that led BUCKETHEAD into calmer musical arenas, he shifted gears a little bit and created a more digestible "easy listening" for BUCKETHEAD anyway, type of album. No, it's not like one of the many lullaby albums that haunt the Pike output but it is more of a riff oriented album that sticks to a rather heavy blues rock style but keeps the tracks interesting by alternating the timbres, tones and dynamics. This was the chicken lover's 19th solo album and focused on more structured compositions. Along with the avant-garde one is Dan Monti who plays bass as well as handling the production and programming.

PEPPER'S GHOST is a fairly easy album to get into as it's riff-oriented tracks are quite easy to wrap one's head around as there are no shockingly disturbing time signature freak outs and jittery caffeinated whirlwind of ideas outpacing a tornado. On the contrary, this is basically a heavy rock that speeds up into full metal territory type of album that utilizes slower passages that offer clean guitar segments with cool echo effects and arpeggios. The tracks are all on the short side with the longest only hitting the five minute mark. While having been accused of producing a commercial album, PEPPER'S GHOST is anything but with its incessant shifts of styles and dynamics albeit adhering to a pre-set melodic development which makes it easier to follow.

Ultimately PEPPER'S GHOST seems a little restrained and held back for my tastes when it comes to BUCKETHEAD's adventurous output. This seems more like a demo album for possible band guitarist slots where he can prove his ability to tamp down his wild side and create a more commercial sound such as he did with Guns N Roses. In some ways it is interesting to hear BH do a more "normal" album that sticks to 4/4 timings and traditional guitar solos that don't blend too many elements simultaneously but at the same time i keep wanting him to push the envelope even further but rather he retreats into safer territory instead of kicking it all into higher gear which any hardcore fan knows quite well that he is capable of doing.

All in all PEPPER'S GHOST is a decent album and not a bad place for someone to begin their BH journey before delving into the esoteric and complex of his canon. While it certainly is more entertaining than the insipid ballad cheese that he also has a propensity for, it doesn't exactly take my heavy metal fantasies to the starts either. Add to the fact that BH doesn't really engage in any new ideas as pretty much everything has been done before and better whether it be those echoey guitar licks or the Van Halen inspired guitar riffs and a few interesting guitar runs that do briefly bask in the avant-garde off kilterness. Having said that, all of the tracks are catchy and well executed and could easily be spiced up with little effort. Perhaps not my most treasured of BH listening experiences but also at the same time not one that i will run to the hills to avoid experiencing again. In the end it's a nice mix of the mellow tinged with echoed psychedelia and the heavy crunch of metal riffs. The sole exception to this fairly "normal" sounding BH album is the finale "Emblaming Plaza" which is a percussionless ambient electronic track and a sneak preview to the Countdown To Halloween Pikes.

3.5 rounded down

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 Master Of Reality by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 669 ratings

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Master Of Reality
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

5 stars In my opinion Master of Reality is Black Sabbath's true masterpiece!

A (almost) flawless album with thunderous bass, incredible guitar riffs, an Ozzy in his best moment and great drumming too. The bass in the mixing of the album is almost too loud, but I love bass oriented bass so I just love the Geezer playing in this one.

The style of Master of Reality is more coherent and cohesive than the two previous efforts, achieving a very solid collection of songs with no real letdowns. They wanted to make a groovy yet heavy album, and they made a real milestone for stoner and heavy metal. Even more than Black Sabbath and Paranoid.

Sweet Leaf has a catchy, very groovy riff that together with its lyrics talking about smoking drugs defined the terms of stoner rock and stoner metal. The final part is great and the bass playing is really strong. A real classic!

After Forever starts in an ominous way, introducing a dynamic melody which ends in another anthological riff. The bass sounds even stronger than guitars! And I just love it. Just like a love Embryo, a little yet terrifying instrumental which leads to Children of the Grave, where Heavy Metal was really born in my opinion (together with Speed King and Bloodsucker from Deep Purple's In rock) It's incredible to hear a song which generated so much amount of influence through the years. A big part of the 80's heavy metal was already in this 1971 track!

Orchid is another good instrumental song, obviously very influential for bands like Opeth (the first album of the Swedish band was named just like this track and the acoustic sections sound similar) and Lord of this World introduces another great riff. The whole discography of bands like Sleeps come from this song! It's really difficult to measure this album's influence through the following decades, and Lord of this World is another good example.

Solitude is similar to Planet Caravan from Paranoid, but very much better in my opinion. An intimate and sad song with beautiful vocals from Geezer. And then comes Into the Void! Another incredible song which starts with a very groovy and funny guitar melody which soon derivate in a brutal riff, which also give way to another heavier and faster riff. And after the solo comes another different but also splendid guitar riff! The songwriting is really good, and so much improved since Paranoid... Just the best moment of this musician's career.

Conclusion: if songs like Black Sabbath supposed the birth of doom metal and other songs like Paranoid gave way to heavy metal, it's adequate to say that Master of Reality is the true birth of stoner metal. A bit of psychedelia, great and variated riffs and songs that talk about drugs and other obscure themes. And with such a great quality! Maybe Master of Reality lacks hits like Paranoid or Iron Man, but as a whole is the better album of the band. Just eight very influential songs which aged very well and a true pleasure for the ears.

Best Tracks: all of them (Ok, maybe Embryo and Orchid are not top notch, but also very good)

My rating: ****1/2, rounded up to five stars and masterpiece status.

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 Green Ray by ZANOV album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.25 | 42 ratings

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Green Ray
Zanov Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This was love at first listen. ZANOV was the project of one Pierre Zalkazanov out of France and this was his debut from 1976. This is one of those Electronic albums that ticks all the right boxes for me. I really like the melancholic mood throughout and how darn spacey it is. We do get sequencers too at times but man this is just the perfect Electronic album for me. It's interesting how I have never been able to get into the more famous French Electronic artist in Jean- Michel Jarre, I find his music is light and poppy in comparison to this dark beauty, and I'm not surprised Jarre is more popular because of this.

"Green Ray" certainly starts off on the right foot with those spacey winds blowing over top of the other synths that form a base here. Sequencers kick in at 3 minutes giving this a different vibe for sure as the spacey winds die down. This is still really good though and those spacey winds do return.

"Machine Desperation" has this electronic beat with some incredible spacey sounds over top. That beat becomes more of the focus 3 minutes in as the spacey sounds continue over top. This is dramatic, then the loud beats calm down a minute later. I really like those spacey winds but as I listen closely I dig how it continually changes slightly over it's 10 minute length.

"Running Beyond The Dream" is the almost 20 minute side long closer. Distant sounds pulse, twitter and drift as it builds. It settles back but then turns louder after 4 minutes. After 5 1/2 minutes it's quiet, too quiet, but this song continues to evolve and change. Another quiet section 10 1/2 minutes in then it's louder at 15 minutes. I love how spacey it gets 17 minutes in.

This ranks right up there with some of my favourite RADIO MASSACRE INTERNATIONAL albums, it's that good.

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 Cottonwoodhill by BRAINTICKET album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.79 | 160 ratings

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Cottonwoodhill
Brainticket Krautrock

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

4 stars There are some strange musical releases have emerged since the dawn of the recording industry but some are certainly stranger than others. It's always a fine balance, that is to find an utterly alien way of expressing oneself through the possibilities of sound and another matter completely to keep the alienating feel while adding just the right amount of elements that entice the listener to experience it unto completion. While formed in Switzerland with a diverse grouping of different European musicians, BRAINTICKET was the brainchild of Belgium born Joel Vandroogenbroeck whose study of classical and jazz went astray as the psychedelic 60s hit full force, leading him into temptation which ultimately led to the forbidden psychedelic fruit that led to his Krautrock infused band BRAINTICKET. The debut COTTONWOODHILL was famous in the psychedelic scene that the original LP sleeve carried the following warning: "After Listening to this Record, your friends may not know you anymore" and "Only listen to this once a day. Your brain might be destroyed!" While that may have been a nice gimmicky exaggeration and perhaps more true in the year 1971 when it was released, it does however portend to the listener that they are in for one demented, explorative and crazy piece of work.

By some COTTONWOODHILL is one of the trippiest records made of the era, however such claims are subjective of course depending which lysergic pastures one would graze in but unorthodox i believe is an adjective upon which everyone could agree and COTTONWOODHILL retains a distinct identity that sounds neither derivative nor copied decades after its release. It remains an utterly unique specimen tucked into myriad displays of psychedelic free form expression of the era. The album is essentially three tracks with the first two "Black Sand" and "Places Of Light" existing in a more "normal" plane of psychedelic and progressive rock that sounds like they could have even been playing on the stage of Austin Powers' warehouse in late 60s London. The tracks are surprisingly rooted in funk rock with a groovy bass, heavy drumbeat and prominent organ dominance with guitar licks adding the extra touch. While the album is filled with vocals, this isn't the normal type of vocal rock album as the vocals are never straightforward and directly sung. On the contrary they either emerge through the din of a processed electronic effect or are more commonly doled out in spoken narrative form especially by the psychotropic ranting freak outs of Dawn Muir.

While "Black Sand" is a heavy funk rocker, "Places Of Light" is light-hearted 60s sounding affair with Vandroogenbroeck cranking out pleasant flute melodies and keyboard runs. Muir begins her spoken word philosophical rants on this track and in a way the two openers are merely there to whet the appetite for the three part "Brainticket Suite" which takes up a whopping two thirds of the album and utilizes the same frantic groove for the majority of its duration. This groove is the combo effect of Vandroogenbroeck's hyperactive funk organ and the loop effect of Ron Bryer's guitar in sync with Werner Frohlich's slap bass guitar which serve as the anchoring foundation but pretty much everything else is fair game as everything from gargling water sounds, to atmospheric turbulence that sound like spaceships taking off to the seductive vocal rants of Dawn Muir come and go as the hypnotic groove creates a trancelike effect as all the accoutrements whizz on in a frantic flurry of activity. It is in effect an entertaining and skillfully crafted construction of order and chaos very much in sync with the visual imagery of the album artwork.

Upon my first experience of COTTONWOODHILL i was a little disappointed as i didn't find this as "trippy" as i had hoped it to be. There's something about the continuous and unrelenting groove loop that keeps this from taking me into the true lysergic lands of total escapism, but i have to keep reminding myself that this was 1971 when this came out and even so is still very much rooted in the 60s psychedelic scene that it was only a baby step removed from. It's better to look at this one as the mixing of not only the most psychedelic rock of the era but also of the ostinato musical elements that much of progressive rock was utilizing in order to allow various musicians to solo around. In this case, it's not the musicians who are doing the soloing but rather the sound effects, spoken word freak outs and collage of incessant swarms of noise that are the focus however the never changing groove loop with ever changing everything else is quite unsettling at first! While BRAINTICKET would continue to record with an ever changing lineup conquering new musical arenas with every release, COTTONWOODHILL sounds like no other, neither in their own canon or in any other band's for that matter. An utterly unique musical statement at the peak of psychedelic musical freedom. One that should be experienced to be believed :)

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 ObZen by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.66 | 208 ratings

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ObZen
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Something_Wicked

4 stars Obzen is a contraction of the words 'obscene' and 'zen', in that the music within is the heaviest, densest and to many the most brutal, yet it imparts a trance like state on the individual. One may get lost in the cyclic odd time rhythms, counting out the numbers like some kind of Buddhist's litany, or maybe caught in the gentle atmospherics that envelope the sheer anger and energy, transcending the filth, simultaneously detaching from and becoming one with the music. And after the fact, however many times you've made the journey through the music, you'll always want to go again, to revisit the plane in which you observed the mingling dance of dark and light, but each time is never the same.

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 Transparent (as Zos Kia / Coil) by COIL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Transparent (as Zos Kia / Coil)
Coil Progressive Electronic

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

— First review of this album —
3 stars After COIL released their debut album "Scatology" in 1984, they quickly released a collection of their earliest primal and mind- altering sonic experiments from the early 80s from the brief time when they would be closely connected with yet another errant electronic band Zos Kia, a project of John Gosling which was an offshoot of John Balance's Psychic TV. The two groups were essentially the same at this point separated in identity only by name showing the complex revolving door policies of the early industrial sound collage movement in the early 80s. These tracks on this only album to be released with the ZOS KIA moniker attached contain some of the most horrific sounds ever to be recorded onto tape with bombilations so utterly unsettling that i can not think of another album that exudes the primal essence of fear and so successful delves deep into the psyche of the listener to locate the ultimate sonic methodology for evoking intense discomfiture.

Originally released by Nekrophile only on the cassette format, the collection would finally find a home on CD in 1997 (with a different track order) by Threshold House and in 1998 Eskaton would reissue a vinyl edition. Finally in 2016 these rough drafts of soundtracks for nightmares would undergo a remastering and released by Cold Spring with two bonus tracks that were recorded by the pre-ZOS KIA noisemakers AKE and show a glimpse of the live underground event played at the Equinox event on June 21, 1983. TRANSPARENT is a bona fide history lesson in the errant nihilistic origins of COIL when they existed side by side on various Rising From The Red Sand compilations with other avant-garde electronically leaning artists like Nurse With Wound, Attrition, Konstruktivists, Lustmord and the Legendary Pink Dots. Likewise these recordings point to the antecedents of COIL's rather eccentric and occult interests and how they relay them in sonic form which continued throughout their multi-decade career which include wax cylinder recordings of Aleister Crowley and inspiration from his disciples especially Austin Osman Spare.

After the somewhat synthpop oriented debut "Scatology" that showed a slightly normal side of COIL, the collection of tracks on TRANSPARENT is downright frightening in comparison. Although some tracks like "Rape" (titled "Violation" on original release) would find their home in a new packaging on a future album (can't pinpoint it), most of these tracks are non-musical and focus more on rhythmic bursts of noise punctuated by intense spoken manifestos or psychotic keyboard deliveries that makes most horror soundtrack music seem like a walk through Disneyland. In sync with the chaos that is the discography of COIL, some tracks are solely credited to COIL, some solely to ZOS KIA and others to both while the bonus tracks are credited to the earlier KIA outfit AKE. Often referred to as monochrome psychedelia, TRANSPARENT even utilizes of all kinds of freaky everyday noises to scare the bejesus out of you. The track "Silence And Sorcery" for example is nothing more than a background of rhythmic crickets chirping with industrial noises randomly jumping from the abyss to signify their presence.

Listening to TRANSPARENT is a journey into the darkest recesses of the mind that captures the most disconcerting sonic amalgamation of factors that create an aura of shock and awe. While COIL would continue on to add more musical elements to their unique style of psychic torture, they would continue to employ many of the same non-musical elements that were laid out at this early stage with some of these tracks being cannibalized and used for sound effects in later offerings. TRANSPARENT is an interesting historical artifact that clearly lays out the antecedents of COIL's ascension into the industrial underground and also displays the less than clear delineation between all the affiliated groups and sub-groups that existed in the fluid world of John Balance and Peter Christopherson. TRANSPARENT is a must for those who crave the shadowy sonic expressions of the underground industrial world of the early 1980s when strange new unthinkable sound combinations were codifying a new "musical" movement that would find more prominence a decade later but for the uninitiated this could be considered a sonic assault that may leave them shivering under their sheets for days.

3.5 rounded down

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 Paranoid by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.29 | 862 ratings

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Paranoid
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars The Band Who Progressed Beyond Prog Rock: 9/10

Following BLACK SABBATH's unexpectedly revolutionary debut (but harshly criticized by contemporaneous critics), the band crew wanted to continue exploiting their mojo releasing yet another state-of-art unpredictably heavy album only a few months later, PARANOID. Consequentially to Paranoid released as a single, it became a monstrous hit, cementing decisively the directions of the newly founded heavy metal genre. Of course, they weren't the only ones to bring up bone-crushing riffs and occultist lyricism ' LUCIFER'S FRIEND proves my point ' but their success made them the most influential act and consequentially the forerunners of the genre.

Worthy of note among all musicians is the guitarist Tony Iommi. He will not go down in history as a virtuoso player or amazing soloist; instead, his merit lies on his riff craftsmanship, manufacturing simple but outstanding licks that would remain in popular culture for years to come. To quote Ozzy Osbourne, '...Tony Iommi turned out to be one of the greatest heavy rock riff-makers of all time. Whenever we went into the studio we'd challenge him to beat his last riff ' and he'd come up with something like 'Iron Man' and blow everyone away.'

PARANOID also inaugurated BLACK SABBATH's creative method that would stick: Iommi would compose the riffs, followed by Ozzy's melody implementation, Geezer (bassist) providing lyrics and Ward (drummer) structuring the rhythm.

Originally, the album was more a little more Satanic: War Pigs and its festival of doom was originally Walpurgis ' a reference to Satanists' 'Christmas' ' where Iommi wanted to express his concern over Satanists, 'these people who are running the banks and the world and trying to get the working class to fight the wars for them'. The band intended on making this track the title, but the record company perceived Paranoid's commercial potential (simple, hard rockin' riffs, how not?) and preferred it instead, a wise move. Electric Funeral, the nuclear apocalyptic omen, is an interesting track ' mostly lugubrious and prophetic, yet featuring an electric midsection jam. Rat Salad, apparently, had a 45-minutes-long drum solo' Ward just can't get enough of jammin'. Fairies Wear Boots tells the tale of Ozzy's terrible encounter with skinheads.

Planet Caravan is an astoundingly soothing and unfit track for the album's atmosphere, being a mixture of psychedelic and space rock that floats beyond conventions for the time ' distorted vocals, bongo playing and a jazzy guitar intersection ' and delves much further into the trippy portion than Pink Floyd ever had. Telling the tale of intelligent beings voyaging across the universe, they eventually glance upon Earth, 'the crimson eye / of great god Mars', a beautiful metaphor for humankind's incessant warmongering nature.

PARANOID is a musical milestone in every angle visible. Its subversive approach to music ruptured with the epoch's 'lightheartedness paradigm', giving prominence to heavier sonorities and themes unlike anything ever before. Not only this, but it also defied the ascending contemporaneous trend, progressive rock, being its opposite in many ways: sepulchral rather than theatrical; succinct rather than complex; conventional rather than purposely eccentric.

I urge anyone who didn't experiment PARANOID to do so as soon as humanly possible: not only it is a great heavy metal album, it is one of the foundational (great) heavy metal albums. In a certain way, you'd have to thank BLACK SABBATH whenever you listened to a metal band like, say, OPETH; well, thank them by listening to their magnum opus. I'm sure Iommi will be happy to know you're woke about the Satanists' true nature.

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 We're Here Because We're Here by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.04 | 835 ratings

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We're Here Because We're Here
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars We had to wait seven years for Anathema to come back... And they returned with one of their best albums!

Taking the deep and mature sound of the underrated A Natural Disaster, Anathema developed their sound a steep further with the help of the mixing of Steven Wilson, achieving not only their best sounding release to date, but also their most homogeneous in terms of songwriting and quality.

Thin Air opens We're Here Because We're Here energically, with beautiful lyrics and enough progressive moments to satisfy the most demanding fans of the band. The general ambient of this song is a less dark and melancholic the in previous albums, offering a surprising change in the band's direction, a lot more optimistic and bright. Just like the cover of the album!

Summer Night Horizon brings back the best moments of A Natural Disaster with mellow melodies but intense drums and a precious duet between Vincent and Lee, confirming that this album of 2003 was an advance of what the band would later do. Dreaming Light is even better, and a tremendous proof of how Vincent Cavanagh improved his voice through the years. Maybe the lyrics are a bit corny, but that's not so important while we are hearing the marvelous guitar and keyboard solo.

Everything was a single that we heard years before We're Here Because We're Here was released, and a great song despite its obvious Coldplay influences. It's also a very good act in live performances of the band. Angels Walk Among Us is my favorite song of the album. Another sentimental lyrics with splendid guitar melodies in the background. Prodigious!

Presence is musically a follow up of the previous track, but it contains some kind of philosophical speech in consonance with the mood of the album. A Simple Mistake is a bit more melancholic, a bit in the vein of Judgement but without reaching the best moment of this album. A good track nevertheless, with strong guitars towards the end.

Get Off Get Out is the most experimental moment of the album, and also one of its lowest moment. Is not a bad song, just anodyne? Luckily Universal is a better. A orchestral song with beautiful singing from Vincent and a very powerful second half. This should have been the ending of the album, because Hindsight is just pleasant, but not brilliant. And also a bit too long, making a good second half of the album, but not so outstanding as the first five songs.

Conclusion: despite its weak moments, We're Here Because We're Here is a very good Anathema album. Sometimes even excellent. It introduced a brighter and more optimistic stage for the band, which would encounter an excellent follow-up on Weather Systems. It has also a very competent production and mixing (the hand of Steve Wilson is there) and even the sometimes showy lyrics can't ruin the excellent songwriting that the band achieved during its almost seven years without releasing an album.

Best Tacks: Thin Air, Summer Night Horizon, Dreaming Light, Everything, Angels Walk Among Us.

My rating: ****

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 David Gilmour by GILMOUR, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.49 | 285 ratings

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David Gilmour
David Gilmour Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars PINK FLOYD is a good example of a band in which the musical magic is a sum of many parts, and the relatively modest solo discography of its members underlines that fact. Think of Rick Wright: Broken China (1996) is sonically pretty interesting but in the end terribly boring. The winner of the foursome is undoubtedly the main songwriter Roger Waters, even if there had been only Amused to Death (1992) and the new album. And what about David Gilmour then? russellk's two-star review of this eponymous debut hits the nail by saying that Gilmour offers Pink Floyd "accessibility, professionalism and excellent guitar skills", and that this album "also shows us that Gilmour hasn't got a lot to say".

Which indeed doesn't mean it wouldn't be a fairly pleasant listen. Gilmour, practically teamed only with the rhythm section, does a good job as a musician and producer. The weakness lies clearly in the songwriting. The opening instrumental 'Mihalis' sounds good but it doesn't really go anywhere. Nor the sung songs are very memorable. Perhaps the most solid one 'There's No Way Out of Here' wasn't even written by himself. The strong lyricism of Waters is deeply missed here. The typically tidy Gilmourian blues flavour is well audible, for example on [another song!] 'No Way'. By the way, a Finnish-language adaptation of 'Short and Sweet', co-written with Roy Harper, appeared three years later on the album of singer-songwriter Hector.

The progressive aspect of this album remains sadly quite minimal. The relationship to the music of Pink Floyd can be recognized. On the nicely named instrumental 'Deafinitely' one hears some echoes from 'Sheep', or to be more precise, from its fanfare-like final section. (I happened to hear it live last Saturday on a wonderful prog covers -oriented gig, in which that composition was actually the least interesting one.) All in all, "David Gilmour" is a justified, if rather forgettable, addition to your Floyd-related stuff, but I'd rather recommend the more atmospheric On an Island (2006). 2½ stars rounded upwards.

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 Terminal Redux by VEKTOR album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.94 | 107 ratings

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Terminal Redux
Vektor Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A brutal travel through space and death!

Hearing Terminal Redux is like being propelled through light years of heinous wars, apocalyptic starship crashes and obscure mythologies. The concept of the album is obtuse and difficult to understand, but also an adventure to discover, just like the music of Vektor. They proudly carry the banner of technical death metal today. And they deserve it!

The production of the album is also very solid, leaving space for every instrument. I would mention the guitars, which sound piercing and pristine, and also the powerful drums. Maybe the bass is a bit low for my taste, but that's usual in thrash and death metal anyway. But let's talk about the songs!

Charging the Void introduces us in a very powerful way in the style of the album. A very technical and fierce death metal but with tons of epic melodies, really catchy for adventurous listeners. The DiSanto vocals are pure black metal nevertheless, and they are accompanied in this song by splendid clean female choirs. A very solid, progressive and surprising song!

Cygnus Terminal is a bit more melancholic and melodic, but also powerful and it contains incredible drumming from Blake Anderson. LCD is even faster, with brutal lyrics with helps to define the concept of the record. And then comes Mountains Above the sun, a very wise track which introduces variety while being just an introduction for Ultimate Artificer, a song which is a bit more classic death metal, but it contains some of the best riffs of the album.

But hey... The second half of the CD is even better! Pteropticon is one of the most complete songs of the album with its devilish speed and brutal melodies. Is one of the best written tracks. Psycotropia increases the craziness level and it contains one hell of a bass solo. And Pillars of Sand follow the more straightforward line of Ultimate Artificer... At this point we start to feel again the album needs a change.

And then we find Collapse! A semi-acoustic and beautiful track with clean vocals which increases its intensity progressively bringing a beautiful moment when clean vocals and growls unite, making a very original and catchy section. The final part of the song is a bit more conventional, but also great. Another marvelous bass playing from Frank Chin!

Recharging the Void... If I had to introduce Vektor to someone, this would be the chosen song to do that. Over 13 minutes of epic melodies, haunting clean choirs, brutal guitars and incredible riffs. It's arguably the best song of the album and one of the highlights in Vektor's career. Just a must hearing song for every prog metal lover! Just like the rest of the album.

Conclusion: Terminal Redux has a pair of not so brilliant moments where the music can be a bit repetitive. But as a whole is just one of the best metal albums of this decade. Superb songwriting, cryptic concept and impressive instrumental skill which brings to mind the best technical death metal moments of the 90's while it achieves to sound different and very actual.

If you are not scared by extreme metal and black metal vocals, you should give Terminal Redux a chance. It's a very impressive release from which confirms that Vektor are not the future of metal anymore. They are the present!

Thank you for this great experience, guys.

Best Tracks: Charging the Void, Pteropticon, Psycotropia, Collapse, Recharging the Void.

My rating: ****1/2, rounded down to four stars.

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