Jeff Scott Soto
Jeff Scott Soto is, by far, my favorite singer out there today. The guy has one of the strongest voices in the world, and his ability to use it in a multitude of ways stretches far past what most singers ever showcase. Let’s face it, you have to have incredible talent to be able to front a band that was defined by a voice (Journey), as well as fronting a metal band of prominence (Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force).
AGE OF REASON
Vocalist Terry Brock can sing his ass off. I mean, seriously, he’s as good as it gets. He’s right there with the greats of Album Oriented Rock music as far as voice goes. Steve Perry, Jeff Scott Soto, Kevin Chalfant – pick a name that is synonymous with that genre, and you will find Terry Brock to be, at worst, of equal caliber to that singer. This just goes to show that no matter how good a singer is, he can’t turn a shitty album good. While Brock may sing as good as he has ever sang before here, ACT OF REASON is one of the most boring, tepid releases of the last year.
Meshuggah is a band that has a category all their own. I’ll call them Aspirincore. There’s only a few bands out there that play Aspirincore; Meshuggah, Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Candiria, probably a few more. With a term like Aspirincore, you might take that as an immediate negative, and you would be wrong. It’s just that these kinds of bands will give you a headache if you listen to them for too long at any point of any day. Their odd timings and even odder timing changes make them simply hard to follow along with.
A Sound Of Thunder
OUT OF THE DARKNESS
With each and every press release that comes down the pike with the term “female fronted metal band”, I find that title generally slides to the back of my “reviews” playlist. I won’t lie. What they are calling “female fronted metal” these days bores me. I hate Nightwish, and I hate the 2nd and 3rd tier bands spawned from Nightwish that much more. There’s a small handful of female fronted metal bands/acts that I truly like. Benedictum is probably the best. Doro is up there. I loved the first Otep album SEVAS TRA a lot. And yes, there’s the occasional tune from Arch Enemy that’s cool. That’s pretty much it. I’m sure there’s others that I have enjoyed from time to time, but not too many.
WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER
I'm one of those guys that just worshipped the work Donnie Vie did with Enuff Z'nuff. Even now, where I've actually hosted shows where Vie was a drug addled embarrassment to the point where I regretted having the name of my radio show tied to his performance, I never stopped appreciating the enormous musical talent that Vie has. I have all those Enuff Z'nuff albums on my IPod and they get regular play in my ears.
Ahhh...another lullaby for my sickened soul! The masters of horrific death metal are back once again. Here's a surprise - this is heavy and fast! Stunning, right? Honestly, this is one I could probably have written without ever hearing a note of the album. It's heavy. It's fast. It kicks all kinds of ass if you are into this type of thing.
We all have bands that never made it big but we really liked. If you are really honest about it, those bands generally have a very distinct reason they didn’t make it big. In short, some bands just don’t have that “it” factor. For me, Halloween are one of those bands. I always loved their tunes and thought they were great. Yet, I think I always fully understood why they didn’t make it. When you listen to the bands of their ilk that did break big and compare them to the bands that had pretty much the same impact, it’s very clear. Halloween was much more “Helstar” than they were “King Diamond”. For me, the lesser known certainly had more impact to me.
THE ULTIMATE DECEPTION
Not being the biggest fan of death metal hybrid bands of any kind, let alone bands that try to fuse black metal and goth together, I didn't have a whole lot of great expectations for THE ULTIMATE DECEPTION by long time Florida metallers Wykked Wytch. To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to listening to it. To be even more honest, the only reason I decided to listen to this was because of the lineage of the past members of the band. This band has seen some great musicians come through it - especially on drums where both Kevin Talley and Richard Christy have chaired the kit at some point. Imagine my surprise when this release turned out to be pretty much an unstoppable brutality train.