Just when you thought I’d finished exploring some of the new releases coming througout 2014, I have come across another selection.
So, what albums have I come across that have got me excited?
Melodic hard rock has become a more and more interesting genre for me and alongside W.E.T., H.E.A.T. are the best that the scene has to offer, no question. I still listen to the previous album from these Swedes on a frighteningly frequent basis, getting thoroughly caught up in the big hook-laden choruses each and every time. I simply can’t wait for this album to be released. I think it must be something about melodic hard rock and acronyms!
A year of so ago, I wouldn’t have considered this release as something to overly look forward to. However, as previous posts have explored, I have had something of an epiphany where Black Label Society are concerned over the past few months. I now love the mix of big riffs, big attitude and explosive guitar solos and am busy fully digesting Zakk Wylde and Co’s back catalogue. The fact that we have a brand new album to get our teeth stuck into during 2014 is just a massive bonus.
I remain a fan of the neo-prog movement and one of the names that has impressed me most in recent years is Knight Area. The Dutch quintet always release high quality material, with 2011’s ‘Nine Paths’ impressing me immensely, thanks to a blend of quality song writing, lush melodies and plenty of synth-laden atmosphere, everything that the genre has become known for. And, if the recent EP, ‘Between Two Steps’ is anything to go by, the upcoming fifth album is sure to be of the highest calibre again.
If brutality, technicality, complexity, melody, beauty and experimentation are important factors in the music you listen to, I suspect that Aeon Of Horus are a name with which you are already familiar. The Australians blew me away around five years ago with their debut full-length, ‘The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light’ and I’ve been waiting and hoping for a follow-up ever since. And now, in 2014, the wait is over with ‘Existence’ the title of the much anticipated sophomore release. Of this, I am expecting big things indeed.
The debut album from Headspace really blew me away. But then, when the group includes the talents of vocalist Damian Wilson, guitarist Pete Rinaldi and Adam Wakeman on keyboards, it is hardly surprising that their debut turned many heads within progressive metal circles. A blend of epic technicality, melody and poignancy meant that it struck a nerve with me immediately and compositions such as the nattily-titled ‘Daddy Fucking Loves You’ and ‘Fall of America’ remain firm favourites to this day.
Over the years, Norway’s melodic progressive metallers Pagan’s Mind have delivered some of the best music that this genre has to offer. I even lavished a 10/10 score for 2007’s ‘God’s Equation’. And whilst it is true that their albums have become more melodic and slightly less progressive over the years, the end results have always been fantastic. Heavy metal anthems in the true sense of the word.