– Sunset on the Golden AgeGenre:
Folk MetalRelease Date:
August 1st 2014Label:
adg211288Sunset on the Golden Age
(2014) is the fourth full-length album by Scottish pirates Alestorm
. For this album the band have extended their line-up to a five piece with the addition of Elliot Vernon
) on keyboards. Previously that role was held by vocalist Christopher Bowes
. The documentation that accompanies my promo copy of the album is unclear if Bowes
plays any keyboards on the album or sticks exclusively to vocals now but I presume he does as that was the situation on their Live at the End of the World
are well known as one of those bands who aren't meant to be taken 100% serious. They're comedic, gimmicky and a bit bonkers too. That's exactly why they're such a great band. But also one that I had to wonder about the longevity of, back when they released their first album Captain Morgan's Revenge
(2008). Just how many songs about pirates and drinking can you write and still do what they do so well? This was a subject that they themselves successfully parodied on their previous album Back Through Time
(2011) on the song Scraping the Barrel
. And here we are with their fourth voyage Sunset on the Golden Age
, an album that brings more drunken pirates and eyebrow raising ideas, not least the decision to cover the song Hangover
which was originally by Taio Cruz
, complete with Christopher Bowes
doing a rap section in that distinctive pirate voice of his. If you're like me and don't stay in touch with mainstream music you may not know who Taio Cruz
is...he seems to be some sort of dance/pop/r'n'b artist...not the most obviously compatible artist for a folk/power metal band to cover. But it's Alestorm
so that may be why it not only works but ends up being an album highlight.
I think that Sunset on the Golden Age
contains two of the funniest songs that Alestorm
have ever written. The first of these is the lead promo track Drink
. I love the way Christopher Bowes
throws in references to the band's older songs like he's retelling the tales of the band's various misadventures on their quest for booze. The chorus is pretty addictive too. I can easily see this one becoming an essential staple of the band's live show for as long as they keep making music, which if Sunset on the Golden Age
is anything to go by isn't something they should be stopping any time soon. The other song I want to mention here is Wooden Leg!
. At first this one seemed a bit too repetitive but as I took in the story like lyrics I began to appreciate it a whole lot more. Another song I can imagine crowds going absolutely nuts to in the live environment.
I think that Back Through Time
started to show a more mature side to Alestorm
though in terms of their compositional skills. I think the reason that they've been able to keep going as long as they have is that their music is not as throwaway as one might initially expect. At their core the band usually combines folk metal and power metal ideas but they also have plenty of symphonic elements and even some thrash metal bits as well. But the different elements aren't so important here it's more what they do with them and the album's title track is easily the most adventurous piece that the band has written so far. An all too brief keyboard lead was even downright progressive. Unfortunately at nearly eleven and a half minutes it's just a bit too long so the band doesn't quite pull off what they seem to have been going for. The same is true of the album's other longer track 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)
. Death Throes of the Terrorsquid
from Back Through Time
will serve as the standard for longer songs that they have to live up to now and neither of these is as strong as that one. But the point is they do give more musically than you might expect, even if the songs on Sunset on the Golden Age
don't have as high a consistency as either Back Through Time
or Captain Morgan's Revenge
Sticking to the shorter humorous songs is clearly Alestorm
's strength on Sunset on the Golden Age
and as I've stated, they've made some of their best and funniest songs on this one. Likewise they maintain a great energy with their music and have some great folk melodies in there too. There may come a day when Alestorm
release something that sounds stale and uninspired but despite the title of the album I don't think the band's golden age is anywhere near over yet. This one is well worth a plunder. 4 Stars. 83/100Comment
– Anthems of RebellionGenre:
Melodic Death MetalRelease Date:
August 25th 2003Label:
Century Media RecordsAuthor:
UMUR"Anthems of Rebellion"
is the 5th full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Arch Enemy
. The album was released through Century Media Records
in August 2003. The album features the same lineup that recorded the preceding album "Wages of Sin (2001)"
but introduces producer Andy Sneap
If you are familiar with Andy Sneap´s
professional metallic sound productions, it´s no surprise how "Anthems of Rebellion"
sound. But actually the sound on this album doesn´t differ much from the sound production on the Fredrik Nordström
produced "Wages of Sin (2001)"
. And it´s the same with the songwriting and general sound and style of the music. The band still play melodic verse/chorus structured death metal. There´s an emphasis on melodic guitar leads and themes, a solid rhythm section and the processed growling vocals by frontwoman Angela Gossow
Out of the 13 tracks on the 43:26 minutes long album, only very few tracks stand out, so even though the songwriting is professional and streamlined, the tracks lack variation between them. The album is in dire need of more tracks like the "hit" "Dead Eyes See No Future"
, that I´m actually able to remember after the album ends. Also why make an album that sounds almost exactly like a carbon copy of the last album? If you´re gonna do that at least make damn sure that the carbon copy is either fully on par with the original or preferably better, which "Anthems of Rebellion"
Overall there´s no denying that "Anthems of Rebellion"
is a very professional sounding melodic death metal album and I´m sure fans of the genre will enjoy the album with fewer reservations than I have, but compared to the band´s preceding releases this one simply lacks bite and an original sound. It sounds uninspired and calculated. And to top it off I have to endure almost 45 minutes of the soulless growling by Angela Gossow
. She is not able to convince me of her vocal qualities on this album either."Anthems of Rebellion"
comes off as a very "safe" album release by Arch Enemy
, but as the sound production is professional, the songwriting ditto and as the musicianship are strong (except for the monotone vocals), I would probably be out of line calling this a bad album. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is therefore warranted. 65/100Comment
– Chronicles Of The Waking DreamGenre:
Progressive MetalRelease Date:
September 21st 2009Label:
UMUR"Chronicles Of The Waking Dream"
is the 2nd full-length studio album by Australian progressive metal act Arcane
. The album was released through Arcane Australia
in September 2009.
The band released a promising debut album in 2007 titled "Ashes"
, and the dark and melancholic progressive metal style featured on that album is continued and further developed on "Chronicles Of The Waking Dream"
. While the debut album featured a 24:15 minutes long title track, which was divided into five parts, "Chronicles Of The Waking Dream"
takes that concept a little further as all tracks on the album segue into each other to form a regular concept album. Arcane
play a layered and keyboard heavy type of progressive metal with both really heavy moments but also mellower emotional sections too. While the instrumental part of the music is impressive enough, it´s the vocals by Jim Grey
that really set Arcane
apart from most other progressive metal acts. He has a very distinct sounding voice and a convincing emotional delivery.
The tracks are structurally challenging, dynamic and it´s hard to pinpoint just one influence. I think I hear influences from both "classic" progressive metal in the vein of Dream Theater
, but also influences from the more alternative part of the progressive metal scene. Acts like Riverside
and A Perfect Circle
probably aren´t strangers to these guys either. "Chronicles Of The Waking Dream"
is not an easy listen and it´s taken me quite a few listens to grasp the full 59:15 minutes long album. There´s simply a lot to take in, but in a positive way. So if you enjoy your progressive metal challenging (not necessarily focused on constant technical playing though) and delivered with great emotional impact "Chronicles Of The Waking Dream"
is definitely a recommended listen. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved. 85/100Comment
– Diabolical Fullmoon MysticismGenre:
Black MetalRelease Date:
July 1st 1992Label:
are, in my opinion, among the country's best black metal exports and Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism
is their debut album from 1992. The band were a three piece consisting of Abbath
(vocals, bass), Demonaz
(guitars) and Armagedda
(drums) at this point.
I tend draw a line between Immortal
's albums, the rawer sound of the first four albums and the better produced and thrashy later albums. Since it's their debut Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism
is one of the least polished in their catalogue, staying true to the conventions held by the earliest second wave black metal bands. It's because of this that I don't think it stands out in any way the way later releases from both sides of the line to. It's a good album for those than enjoy this sort of black metal sound but I can't help but think that Immortal
were still finding their feet here. I consider the most accomplished track to be A Perfect Vision of the Rising Northland
as it contains more ideas and moods than most songs on the album do, but at nine minutes long overstays its welcome. In short Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism
is worth picking up if you're a major fan of the band to hear where they started from but otherwise this one is actually pretty skippable. 65/100Comment
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