Pain Of Salvation – The Perfect Element Part 1
I saw a flyer in a magazine that mentioned “progressive” and I was interested. So I downloaded it, as it wasn’t available in Australia at that point in time.
I burned it to a CD, put it on the stereo, pressed play and became a fan. Its progressive because it has so many different styles/genres throughout the songs.
“In The Flesh” has this Queensryche/Bad Company feel merged with Marillion merged with Porcupine Tree before it goes to a Dream Theater like feel from “Images And Words”. And it moves between these things effortlessly.
Make sure you hang around until the 7.20 minute mark, just so you could hear that piano riff before the song segues into “Ashes”.
“Ashes” at four minutes and 20 seconds is brilliant. The melancholic mood created from the lightly distorted arpeggios is hypnotic. There is a fuzzed out lead and a spoken/lightly sung vocal melody.
And when the Chorus kicks in, with that “Zombie” feel, and the line, “As we walk through the ashes, I whisper your name”. Brilliant.
And this song segues into “Morning On Earth” with that musical box/xylophone riff. You need to listen to it, to understand what I mean.
“Idioglossia” continues the genre appropriation and they even bring back that chorus vocal melody from “Ashes”.
Check out “Her Voices” especially the last three minutes when the choir/voices come in. It made me feel like I was in the “Conan The Barbarian” movie.
The riffs in “King Of Loss” are some of my favourites.
And this song segues into “Reconciliation” which brings back that musical box/xylophone riff from “Morning On Earth” but this time on electric guitar and the full band.
“Song For The Innocent” feels like the last two minutes of “Comfortably Numb”.
“Falling” is like “Sorrow” from Pink Floyd and it segues into the 10 minute closer “The Perfect Element”.
An excellent end to an excellent album.
Apocalyptica – Cult
I have a guilty pleasure listening to rock and metal songs adapted to violin, cellos or to a string quartet or orchestra.
It highlights how great and musical the songs are from musicians who have been labelled as evil, devil worshippers, addicts, bad influences, alcoholics and many more.
Apocalyptica is one such band that takes metal songs and adapts them to cellos. In clean tone and with distortion.
And they made a career by adapting Metallica tracks to the cellos, but on this one, they branch out with original tunes and a couple of tasty cover adaptions chucked in.
So “Cult” is their third full-length LP.
The names of Eicca Toppinen (who apart from playing the cello also carries out the arrangements, double bass and percussion), Max Lilja, Paavo Lötjönen and Perttu Kivilaakso are easy to forget, but their devotion to their instrument and heavy metal music is .
The haunting melody to “Romance” is unforgettable and cinematic.
Other songs, like “In Memoriam” and “Hyperventilation” have some great sections.
“Hope” has a melody that reminds of Iron Maiden songs.
And then the covers, which I always enjoy.
“Hall of the Mountain King”, a haunting adaption of “Until It Sleeps” from Metallica and “Fight Fire with Fire” which has the cellos smoking as they generate speed to play that fast intro after the acoustic section.
Marilyn Manson – Holy Wood
Back then I wanted to listen to it because it had John 5 on guitars and the majority of the songs have John 5 as the musical writer or co-writer with bassist Twiggy Ramirez.
“Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)” is album number 4. Wikipedia tells me it’s a rock opera concept album, connecting “Antichrist Superstar” from 1996 and “Mechanical Animals” from 1998.
“The Fight Song” sounds like it could have come from the band Blur. At 34 million streams on Spotify, it’s tiny compared to the 192 million streams “Sweet Dreams” has. The other big song on Spotify is “The Beautiful People” at 177 million streams, so it’s no surprise they recreated that song for “Disposable Teens”.
“Target Audience” begins with an arpeggio riff that reminds me of “Only Women Bleed” from Alice Cooper before it gets into that industrial staccato style riffs.
My favourite is “In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death” and how a simple acoustic song percolates until it explodes.
“The Nobodies” has a normal drum beat, but its effects are from dance music while John 5 plays a guitar riff in the intro that sounds like a distorted piano.
And I realised that it’s those slower songs which percolate and then explode which become favourites, like “Coma Black”.
And Marilyn Manson is in the news today more than ever before, with his label dropping him after numerous women and his most recent partner accusing him of grooming and sexual/physical abuse.
Nevermore – Dead Heart in a Dead World
Readers of the blog know that I am a fan of Sanctuary, the previous band to vocalist Warrel Dane (RIP) and bassist Jim Sheppard.
Jeff Loomis is on guitars. He once auditioned for the coveted Megadeth guitar spot but lost out to Marty Friedman. Van Williams is on drums.
So all the lyrics are written by Dane and the music by Loomis, except the covers, which on this album, they have “The Sound Of Silence” from Simon & Garfunkel.
“Dead Heart in a Dead World” is the fourth studio album and the sound of the 7 string dominates.
“We Disintegrate” blasts out with some serious riffage. The drumming in the intro reminds me of “Hanger 18”.
“Inside Four Walls” lyrically feels like a cut from the “Empire” album from Queensryche as it questions the American way of life. Musically, its technical and it reminds me more of the metal that Megadeth plays and the Swedish melodic death metal bands.
“The River Dragon Has Come” has a nice acoustic intro with a melodic lead before it moves into a metal like cut, more groove orientated than the previous songs.
“The Heart Collector” has a slower distorted intro with a melodic lead that gets my attention. Then the verses are acoustic, classical, like Rainbow and Uli Jon Roth era Scorpions.
“Engines of Hate” is probably what people wanted from Metallica during this time. It’s fast, its angry and technical.
“The Sound of Silence” is a cover just by using the lyrics. The music is all new by Loomis, thrash like and the vocal melodies are different.
“Insignificant” is a slower groove but powerful. “Believe in Nothing” is the single. It was also covered by All That Remains in 2008 and also released as a single, I think. It’s more of a hard rock track and an excellent one at that.
If you like your metal to have some technicality to it, then give Nevermore a listen.