Metal (and Rock) update – 7 August 2018

Just as I complete my mini-series, looking at the music still to come in 2018, I receive news of a whole host of new music coming our way throughout the remainder of the year. So, what better than an impromptu post that updates you on what I have found most interesting over the past few days?

Well, like it or not, here goes:

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Haken
‘Vector’
Label: InsideOut
Date of release: 26 October 2018

‘It’s a mathematical term, represented by an arrow with both direction and magnitude. Vector!’ So says the villain of the same name in the animated film, Despicable Me. And, to milk the analogy one stage further, when this news came out, I let out a Vector ‘oh yeah!’, only probably far more high-pitched and screechy.

I have been waiting for this news for some time and, as the year progressed, I wondered whether Haken’s new release might slip into 2019. But no. I should never have doubted the band, a band that proudly sits in my ‘inner circle’ – one of six bands that I would quote as my favourite ever (check out my post to prove it!). For they can do no wrong and, indeed, have never set a foot wrong in their entire career, going from strength to strength I the process.

The selfish part of me wishes that they were still an underground prog secret, rather than having to share them with the masses. But, at the same time, it is great to see a band realise the potential that was spotted at an early stage. At least I can say that I was there at the beginning and that I was a proud supporter of their endeavours.

The track listing suggests that ‘Vector’ contains a mere seven songs, whilst the accompanying blurb reveals that this is a heavier album. I suspect that we’re in for seven longer tracks in that case, but I shall wait a little longer before indulging in further speculation. For now, I’ll just rejoice in the fact that 2018 will see the mighty Haken return!

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Brainstorm
‘Midnight Ghost’
AFM Records
Date of release: 28 September 2018

This release completely blindsided me. I had no idea it was even on the horizon. I wasn’t overly impressed with their last album, ‘Scary Creatures’, the first review that I wrote during an epic 2016. It was a little patchy in my opinion, not as good as their best. Nevertheless, to have the German stalwarts back for another round, is great news as far as I’m concerned, because they always put a smile on my face.

I first discovered Brainstorm via their fifth album, ‘Soul Temptation’, in the rather unexpected surroundings of the Greek island of Corfu back in 2003. I was on a family holiday and stumbled upon a record store, adorned with Iced Earth Banners and filled with an abundance of metal CDs. ‘Soul Temptation’ was recommended and I duly purchased it, never regretting my decision.

Since then, I have kept Brainstorm on my radar and I was delighted to catch them on stage in 2007 at German outdoor festival, Bang Your Head. In Andy B Franck, Brainstorm have an incredibly talented and energetic frontman, someone who can bring their melodic power/thrash metal to life with ease. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that ‘Midnight Ghost’ is a step up from last time and that it surpasses their past efforts and delivers a blinder. Not long to wait to find out.

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The Neal Morse Band
‘TBC’
Radiant Records
Date of Release: TBC

In light of the fact that the last two records have been of such an amazingly high quality, it’d be rude and rather foolish to ignore the fact that over the last week or two, there has been a lot of movement in the Neal Morse Band camp. The guys recently got together to work on new material for a new album and most recently, they took to social media to state the following:

“Wrapping up the writing, arranging portion of the next NMB Album. Now comes some more tweaking and then Mike will start his drum tracks tomorrow! It shall be EPIC!”

To be honest, we’re all used to a ton of hyperbole where this band is concerned, due in no small part to their shrinking violet drummer, Mike Portnoy. But then again, the superlatives that were placed on ‘The Similitude of a Dream’ by the band and the PR company alike were actually well-placed and deserved. So whilst I reserve judgement on the ‘It shall be EPIC!’ remark, I can’t help that we’ll be duly rewarded when the time comes.

A.C.T
‘TBC’
ACTWORLD
Date of Release: TBC

I’m so excited for a new album from these quirky art rockers, that any update is a good update. Today, we’re told the following:

“Just a little teaser for you all. We’re getting closer and closer for a release. Hang in there, it’s coming!”

It’s not clear when we’ll see the new album, but it seems like the cogs are still turning and that’s good enough for me. As I stated in my review of their superb previous album ‘Circus Pandemonium’, A.C.T offer ‘progressive rock of the highest order that blends many different styles into an homogenous and cohesive end product that will no doubt confound and delight in equal measure.”

If you’ve not heard A.C.T before, check out the track below, as well as the teaser trailer. At which point, I’m confident you’ll be hooked and will join me in salivating at the prospect of a new full-length record. Come join me in the world of A.C.T.

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Riverside
‘Waste7and’
InsideOut
Date of Release:

And finally, since my last update of this kind, we’ve been offered a brand new song from Riverside off their highly-anticipated new album, ‘Waste7and’. Oh, and the full artwork. The latter, I adore – it’s a really cool piece of artwork and draws me in every time I see it. The song, on the other hand, entitled ‘Vale of Tears’ I’m not so sure about yet. Naturally I like the music, but after a few spins, I’ve not fully and unreservedly fallen for it. Time will tell for sure and the context of the entire album will help. But for now, the jury is out. What do you all think?

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