Tag Archives: prog metal

Review: SikTh’s Opacities

opactities

SikTh are back! There’s a selection of words I didn’t expect to ever be writing but the original line-up has returned to make new music and the first comeback effort by the band has come into being as Opacities; a 6 track mini-album.

If you’re a fan of the band then you’ll know the SikTh’s 2 long-players actually sit in two different categories. While they have always played technically proficient and extremely progressive metal, their debut album The Trees Are Dead and Dried Out, Wait for Something Wild features music with a much more traditional song structure. Despite how much is going on in the music, there are clear verses, choruses and bridges which is unlike sophomore effort Death of a Dead Day which sees the band indulge in more progressive song-writing.

What Opacities does so well is combine both styles into a cohesive record. The songs are still considerably more long-form like on Death of a Dead Day as most songs average around 5 minutes in length. However, the band has seen fit to structure the songs in the more digestible silhouette of their first record and you’ll notice melodies crop up more frequently in a single song. This means that fans who sat more comfortably with one particular SikTh album can now enjoy the best of both worlds.

There has also been a considerable shift towards heavier grooves on Opacities. Philistine Philosophies is a great example of this as we often find ourselves in almost metalcore-esque beatdown territory but with that wonderfully progressive weirdness that SikTh deal in. While there’s still plenty of tapped leads and general fretboard madness, Opacities doesn’t see guitarists Graham Pinney and Dan Weller dealing in the same higher-pitched, upper-fretboard work that often punctuates The Trees Are Dead and Dried Out.

It’s also extremely satisfying to hear that the duel vocal attack of Mikee Goodman and Justin Hill has improved dramatically. While there is still plenty of screaming on this record, there’s a noticeable shift towards sung melodies with Goodman really showing how versatile a vocalist he can be on songs like Days Are Dreamed. Hill still deals with the glorious, floaty chorus melodies that so often become song highlights but thanks to Goodman’s own singing, Hill’s vocals are bolstered in a more satisfying way on Opacities.

The band still get a little too indulgent for my own liking as another spoken word Goodman piece takes up an entire track on the record where there could have been more music, but this is a minor niggle on a record that showcases exactly why SikTh have become so influential to the tech metal scene we have today.

Opacities is a fantastic comeback by one of the most dearly missed UK metal acts. SikTh are just as exciting and vital as they’ve ever been and despite the 9 year gap between Opacities and Death of a Dead Day, it genuinely feels like the band have never been away. Opacities has a wonderfully natural progression to it and it sounds exactly like the follow-up to Death of a Dead Day that we all dreamed of. It feels wonderful to finally say this but welcome back SikTh. We’ve really missed you.

9/10

SikTh’s Opacities is out now and available to buy from Peaceville Records.


Review: Red Seas Fire’s Resolution

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Technical metalcore mob Red Seas Fire return with Resolution, a 4 track EP stuffed with the sort of tech metal that bands like Periphery and SikTh deal in. If constantly evolving prog metal stuffed with a thousand riffs, screamed vocals and soaring melodies sounds like something that’ll whet your appetite, then Red Seas Fire certainly deliver.

Red Seas Fire are actually a far more approachable prospect than a lot of tech metal bands as their heavier moments generally take on the sort of shape that metalcore often deals with. This means lot of double-bass drumming and the sort of single-chord beatdowns that I often don’t get on too well with. However, Red Seas Fire actually use these moments a lot more sparingly which means they never outstay their welcome before they segue into a beautiful melody like the one nearer the end of Blood Bank. There’s still no denying that this sort of heaviness is still a lazy excuse to have an obvious passage for people to mosh to, but at least Red Seas Fire understand how to temper these moments with some genuinely fantastic riffs and vocal melodies.

Sadly the band do get a bit bogged down in this territory for the 9 minute behemoth that is The Mistakes We Make; an apt song title for a song that spends too long worshipping down-tuned beatdowns and not doing enough to warrant it’s enormous length. This is a real shame because the band manage to prove elsewhere (and in the latter half of the song) that they’re genuinely talented songwriters who understand nuance and not just bludgeoning their listeners over the head with heaviness.

Resolution is a solid tech metal EP that’s at its best when the songs trade off their moshier moments with huge, anthemic melodies that will be stirring crowds into massive sing-a-longs. Red Seas Fire clearly have the ability to write great metal but their over-reliance on beatdowns means they undersell their abilities. Thankfully the better moments on Resolution shine brighter than the duller, chuggy, one-chord riffs that the band often deal in and the whole EP pops with a satisfying chunky mix that will get your head banging in no time.

7/10

Red Seas Fire’s Resolution is out now and available to download for free via the band’s website.


News: Basick Records Announce Vinyl Releases for SikTh and Circles Albums

vinylsikth

Basick Records will release SikTh’s ‘Death of a Dead Day’ and Circles’ ‘Infinitas’ on vinyl for the first time this Record Store Day. Both records are double LP releases with 3 tracks per side.

Record Store Day takes place on April 19th. A full list of participating stores can be found by clicking here.

SikTh return for their first live show since 2008 at Download Festival on the 14th of June where they headline the Red Bull stage.


News: Stream The Safety Fire’s Mouth of Swords in Full

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A full stream of The Safety Fire’s new album Mouth of Swords is now available. Click the video below to instantly put 45 minutes worth of tech metal into your ears:

Mouth of Swords is released on the 2nd of September through InsideOut Music. You can pre-order it now if you enjoy the stream that much.


News: The Safety Fire Reveal New Album Details and Release Date

Prog metallers The Safety Fire have revealed their sophomore album will be called Mouth of Swords and will release on September 2nd 2013 presumably through InsideOut Music.

In what has to be the best press release in the history of man, vocalist Sean McSweeney has said:

“Since our first album we’ve all concentrated more on having awesome haircuts and facial hair. Does that go some way to explaining why Mouth of Swords is shit hot? Some may suggest so. But all I know is I’m on it and that’s enough for most people. This album is pure gold, and will be priced accordingly.”

Guitarist Dez Nagle adds:

“I must have said “there is no topping Winger’s 1988 classic ‘Winger'” on a daily basis during the recording process. I’ve never been wrong about anything in my whole life, so it was a rather humbling experience to realise that what we were creating was in fact better than Winger’s 1988 classic, ‘Winger’. I felt like a bozo deluxe. After a while I came to accept …that we had created the best album of all time, ever, in the history of known time. The burden of holding such musical gold was too much for us to handle and the band agreed to release it through InsideOut Music, on September 2nd. I’d like to think the music can speak for itself, but music can’t speak, so I’ll speak on its behalf. Hello. I hope you enjoy me.”

The full track-list is below:

1. Mouth Of Swords
2. Glass Crush
3. Yellowism
4. Beware The Leopard (Jagwar) feat. Tommy Rogers
5. Red Hatchet
6. Wise Hands
7. The Ghosts That Wait For Spring
8. I Am Time, The Destroyer
9. Old Souls


News: Stream TesseracT’s Altered State in Full

TesseracT’s sophomore album Altered State is now available to stream in its’ entirety from Century Media’s YouTube Channel. Check it out:

Altered State is released through Century Media on May 27th. It will be TesseracT’s first record with Ashe O’Hara on vocal duties and the band’s first album of completely new material.


News: TesseracT’s Altered State Releases on May 27th

Prog metallers TesseracT return with their 2nd album Altered State which releases on Century Media May 27th. You can apparently pre-order the thing at www.tesseractband.co.uk but the site is down at the time of writing. In the mean time you can check out the album trailer below:

Altered State is the first release with Ashe O’Hara on vocals who replaces Elliot Coleman.


News: Aliases Part Ways With Another Vocalist

What is it with tech metal bands and losing vocalists!?

Aliases have parted ways with Leigh Dale who replaced Jay Berast in September 2012. The band did not release any music with Dale on vocal duties.

Drummer Darren Hughes has said, “Unfortunately it just didn’t work out with Leigh in the way that we had hoped. As a band, Aliases has always been about moving forward, no matter what obstacles present themselves and are eagerly beginning the search for a new vocalist immediately.”

Basick Records have detailed any aspiring vocalists can try out for the vacant position:

“If you are interested in trying out to join the band, contact amanda@possessivemanagement.com to apply. The audition process will cover 4 stages as outlined below.

1. Vocal cover recorded for 2 tracks against backing tracks
2. Interview with Aliases’ management
3. Live close door performance with the band
4. Writing assessment

Applicants must register their interest by email by 28th January 2013.”


News: Stream the New TesseracT Single ‘Nocturne’

The new TesseracT single ‘Nocturne’ and the first song with new vocalist Ashe O’Hara is now available to stream.

Click here to listen to Nocturne by TesseracT

TesseracT have a few UK dates lined up with the Devin Townsend Project and Fear Factory in December before they head back to the studio to finish making the follow-up to debut album ‘One’. Hopefully the new album will see the light of day next year. Check out the dates below:

Dec 13 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
Dec 15 Manchester HMV Ritz
Dec 16 Bristol Academy

[Source: Metal Hammer]


News: TesseracT Announce New Vocalist and Single

Prog metal upstarts TesseracT have announced that their new vocalist will be Ashe O’Hara. O’Hara replaces Eliott Coleman who left the band earlier this year.

The official word from O’Hara is; “I have always been an admirer of their work so it’s pretty awesome to be passed such a challenging flame. I am very aware of the anticipation and I am certainly feeling the weight of it; but I am equally excited for what shall be an amazing and sh*thot experience!”

TesseracT add; “We realize that the vocalist search seemed like it took a long time, but we wanted to make sure that we found someone who was a perfect fit both on stage and in the studio and Ashe is just that. We very much appreciate the patience and support our fans have shown us and look forward to the next TesseracT chapter.”

TesseracT will release Nocturne on the 12th of October 2012 as a free download which will mark the debut of Ashe O’Hara’s vocals on a TesseracT song. A trailer for the song is available below:

TesseracT will head out on tour in October. Here’s the dates:

17.10.2012 (UK) Brighton – The Haunt
19.10.2012 (UK) Milton Keynes – The Crauford
21.10.2012 (D) Cologne – Euroblast Festival
22.10.2012 (F) Paris – Le Batofar
23.10.2012 (NL) Nijmegen – Merleyn