As poor as 2021 might be on teh live music front, we have again a rather brilliant year on new CD releases. Herewith again four contenders for my top 21 of 2021.
For several years I subsribed PROG magazine. I stopped doing so because of poor mail delivery between UK and Holland and the fact that their main articles were always about the same 25 bands. Last arrival in Portugal I picked up a copy again with Fugazi on the cover (5 Euro cheaper than in Holland as Portugal is much closer to the UK than Holland, oh no it's not) . Driving from the airport to the Alentejo coast I put the bonus CD sampler in. That's when number two made me ask Josie, can you check which band this is? Turned out to be The Paradox Twin with possibly their best song Wake Vortex. Well that blew me away and the logical steps of checking the full album out on bandcamp or Youtube followed with an order made after first listening. Those missing split-up later day Anathema , this is similar but better. Also because the female voice reminds me of Cammie Gilbert. One wonderful surprise of sad and dark progrock. Now I saw they come to Holland next year September, but that is on the same day that Sanctuary headlines MEF 4, so no chance for me attending unfortunately. Check this band out!
Dream Theater are never going to release an album as good as their first three which are their best no discussion possible. That is no problem since this happened with most biggest bands of the eighties (Queensryche first three, Metallica first three, Marillion first four, Maiden first seven) So I don't put on a new DT album for comparison reasons. Listening to this view from the top of the world I can only say it so far seems to be one of their better ones of the later years (as good as their selftitled album maybe) Seven songs over seventy minutes does not scare off any DT fan. The closing 20 minute epic is nice, but my favorite is probably heavier Awaken the Master. Just another top album by them and bring on that tour with Devin Townsend, where I hope to see the Lisbon show.
When former Hades members Dan Lorenzo, Jimmy Schulman and Ron Lipnicki join forces with Jason McMaster (Watchtower, Howling Sycamore) my attention is more than a little triggered. Turns out that the Hades members also released some recent doom albums under the name Vessel of Light. Therefore this album reminds more of Non Fiction than of technical thrash heroes Hades. As I liked Non Fiction as well, no problem whatsoever for me. Ten great slow heavy bangers, which by the names of the members all guaranteed musically of the highest level in performance. Two covers close the CD and Big Eyes sounds so good that I now seriously start considering seeing Cheap Trick the day after Complexity. This album is not very recent with a July release. Unfortunately the bandcamp album charged crazy amounts for postage again, so a no go. For Dutch friends Bookspot.nl has it for 13,99 (still waiting for Stone Healer to appear like that somewhere in Europe).
Wow, I did not see that one coming. A few years ago I saw Rivers of Nihil opening one of those Obscura tour packagaes. To be honest that day I came to see Beyond Creation and Revocation, both I already had on CD and loved. So maybe not paying enough attention I thought them sounding nice, but no rush to the merch stand for a CD. In comes the Work and after first listening I knew I will spend many a happy hour with this album in years to come. Rivers of Nihil go everywhere and while mentioning Pink Floyd I also am reminded of career defining albums for bands like NIN (The Fragile) or Smashing Pumpkins (Mellon Collie) Of course their tech death side has not been buried either and the album so far keeps on giving and discovering. They were supposed to come and tour Europe later this month. That has been postponed, but in the interview with Rune (The Progspace) we learned, that they will come back next year even better prepared. If you like music in general, just give this one a chance as it has something for everyone and might make you a late at the party fan just like me. Now where can I get Where Owls Know My Name?