Say hello to the next four.
Coheed And Cambria
From the United States.
“Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind” continues their “Amory Wars” space opera. The “Vaxis” series takes place after “The Keywork” was destroyed and it follows a couple on the run, along with an “Eleven” like Child which came into they care, as they try and
The thing about CoCa that I like is the variety in the music. You get major key songs which sound like Pop Punk/Metal/Rock songs like “Comatose”, “Rise, Naianasha (Cut The Cord) and “The Liars Club” (My Chemical Romance comes to mind here).
“Shoulders” and “Love Murder One” are modern groove rock tracks.
“A Disappearing Act” could end up on dance floors with its pulsing synth riff and bouncing bass/drum groove, and yet it still rocks hard. Then again, “Love Murder One” has a lot of pop elements as well, which could fit this category as well. “Bad Love” pushes the limits of fusing what is contemporary pop/dance with hard rock. It’s catchy and I like it.
“Blood” is a slow rocker with auto-tuned vocals which serve the song well. It could be on a Post Malone album. “Our Love” is another slow rocker, more U2 and 80’s synth Rush.
“Ladders Of Supremacy” is written after George Floyd’s horrible death. Its heavy and it rocks. And they made it fit the story. Check out it’s Tool like section from the 5 minute mark.
“Window Of The Waking Mind” is progressive in its arrangement and moods.
Claudio Sanchez along with Travis Stever have kept my interest in Coheed and Cambria for the 20 years I have been a fan. During that time drummer Josh Eppard left and came back, while original bassist Michael Todd couldn’t shake off his addictions which put him onto a path of armed break-ins and jail time, who was then replaced by Zach Cooper and what a job Cooper has done the last 10 years he’s been with the band.
From Sweden. Their streaming numbers are wow. Along with Volbeat, they are part of big metal acts these days based on their streaming numbers.
“Kaisarion” is a great way to kick into album after the 100 second “Imperium”.
“Spillways” feels like a 70’s Classic Rock track, with its metronomic piano riff. And how creative is the hook, “through the spillways of your soul”. Who comes up with this?
“Call Me Little Sunshine” has me ready to take up arms. It’s clean tone intro feels like the pyramids are getting built and when it cranks into the distortion, it’s time to break desks.
How good is that melodic riff in “Hunters Moon”?
And if the intro to “Watcher In The Sky” doesn’t get you moving, check for a pulse. And that hook, “search lights, looking for the watcher in the sky”. Brilliant.
But my favourite is the Van Halen-ish “Aint Talkin Bout Love” sounding “Griftwood”.
Out Of This World
I was blown away by this album. Kee Marcello is on guitars and keys here, with Tommy Heart on vocals, Ken Sandin on bass, Darby Todd on drums with Don Airey performing guest keys. In case you are not aware, the name of the band is the same as the album that Kee Marcello played on with Europe. “Out Of This World” was the highly anticipated album after “The Final Countdown” however it only sold half of what the previous album did. Marcello would record the excellent and forgotten “Prisoners Of Paradise” (1992) and he more or less disappeared from the writings of the press.
The way Marcello plays the guitar, he is more of a cross between Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen, then others, and you can hear this on the songs. His love of Styx, early Journey and Toto and their melodic rock songs is also evident here, as it feels like Steve Lukather played on the album.
Vocalist Tommy Heart is a pro here as well, delivering quality on each song. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter how great the music is, if the vocals are crap. And there are no crap vocals here. Hell, on some songs, I feel like Joey Tempest is singing.
The album clocks in at 45 minutes and the only thing I could after it finished is press play again. Tracks like “In A Million Years”, “Lighting Up My Dark”, “Staring At the Sun” and “The Warrior” (Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” comes to mind, then again, “The Winery Dogs” have taken this approach as well) are on par with the well-known tracks from the Melodic Rock and Melodic Metal mainstream era between 1984 and 1991.
Do your ears a favour and press play on it?
Three Days Grace
They became mainstream in the early 2000’s (circa 2003/04) and they rode that platinum success for over a decade. Then vocalist Adam Gontier left abruptly in 2013, replaced by Matt Walst from the band My Darkest Days. His brother Brad is the bassist of the band and one of its founders, along with drummer Neil Sanderson and ex-vocalist Gontier. Barry Stock rounds out the band as the second guitarist.
The last album they did with Gontier, “Transit Of Venus” is my least favourite and it’s taken a while for the band to recapture that fan base. “Human” was a good start (“Painkiller is sitting at 140 million streams) but the excellent “Outsider” released in 2018 got me back on board. On Spotify, songs like “Right Left Wrong” (44.1 million streams), “The Mountain” (74.6 million streams), “Infra-Red” (50.7 million streams), “I Am An Outsider” (25.3 million streams), “Strange Days (12.3 million streams) and “The Abyss” (10.1 million streams) need to be listened to.
So “Explosions” was highly anticipated.
The album immediately introduces the heaviness with “So Called Life”. At 34.2 million streams on Spotify since May 2022, it will surpass a 100 million by this time next year. Because we are looking for something to take the edge off this so called life.
“I Am The Weapon” is heavy and melodic and it could have come from the melodic metal streets of Sweden. “Neurotic” which features Lukas Rossi is a throwback to the Gontier fronted albums, which will satisfy the core. Along with songs like “No Tomorrow” and “Redemption”.
You can hear the heartache in “Lifetime”, its slow rock, but if you listen closely, you can hear those ballad like country licks being played.
Press play to hear the intro riffs to “A Scar Is Born”.
I love the way “Souvenirs” percolates and builds around Matt Walst’s vocal melody until it explodes. And the hooks in the Chorus, “We don’t know why we’re here, but we’re not here for long” and “Surrounded by souvenirs from days that are gone”. Truth right there. At 1.7 million streams the song is more or less forgotten, but it is one of my favourites.
“Champion” is Imagine Dragons and The Script with more grit. “Chain Of Abuse” could have come from Breaking Benjamin. “Someone To Talk To” features the cellos of Apocalyptica,
The closer is the title track.
At 37 minutes long, the album is concise, it rocks hard and the only thing you can do afterwards is press play again.