Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hexen - Being and Nothingness

I always considered Hexen part of the Thrash revival bandwagon, which may have been true four years ago, but not so today.  How bands can start off so traditional and then tip the prog scales on their very next album is beyond me, but it almost always works in everyone's favor.  This album holds its own against the classics and sure as hell beats what the "old guard" of Thrash bands are putting out these days.  Time changes, abstract concepts, and ultra-bright production are all waiting for you on the other side of the link.

Riot - The Privilege of Power

Since it's been a solid two weeks since my last post, I shall return with an overlooked prog jewel.  This album represents one of those strange moments in almost every bands career when they forget about fan expectation and really let their artistic impulses flow.  There's so many influences showing up here from Power/Classic Metal to Funk Rock and Fusion all expertly executed.  Then there's the whole anti-utopian, cold war concept in the lyrics and way overblown sample intros.  It's honestly hard to tell how serious Riot were trying to be with the concept, but it only adds to the outrageous mystique.  Ok, there are a couple throw-away love songs, but even if you cut those out, you're still left with over 40 minutes of gold.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Heaven's Gate - Livin' in Hysteria

Here's another album that four of you will like and 100 of you will hate.  Heaven's Gate is a German Power Metal band that never got the attention of their contemporaries Helloween and Blind Guardian, although they did release a few damn good albums in the late 80's.  As you would expect the cheese factor is cranked throughout the whole thing, but accompanied by great musicianship and that understated German humor that you've only read about.

Arkhum - Earthling

I haven't even fully listened to this yet, but it's been two weeks since my last post and my conscience wouldn't let my avoid posting any longer.  What you have here is modern, technical Death Metal in the Santa Cruz style, except that it's coming out central Oregon.  There's a strong Black Metal influence too, reminding me of Fallujah.  Worth looking into, for sure.