Tuesday, 26 September 2017

My Soliloquy - Atrox - The Contortionist - Threshold

With begin October ProgPower on the agenda it looks like many progmetal bands willing to release a great album just in time to sell many at the cellar in Baarlo. I picked four here, but have not heard Anubis Gate yet, already Pledged Twisted Illusion and Iris Divine is mailing out in the next weeks. Various forms of progmetal it is then.


 My Soliloquy - Engines of Gravity
My Soliloquy is almost a solo album by Pete Morten. Apart from Damon Roots on drums he plays all instruments and sings. With Engines of Gravity this results in a very strong and varied progmetal album. Pete Morten is of course that other guy who left Threshold this year. Releasing an album in the same month as his previous band is brave, but worked out very fine. His vocals at times even remind me of John Arch and one person taking care of lead, acoustic, rhythm guitars, bass and keyboards is impressive. During recent Threshold live reviews I always mentioned the idea of one evening of side projects closed by Threshold. Hoping they split on friendly terms I'd say My Soliloquy, Headspace, Kyrbgrinder and Threshold would give a fantastic bill. Give this album a try and if you like to hear Pete's roll in recent Threshold albums start with closing song The Emptying Of Meaning.

Atrox - Monocle
I discovered Atrox 15 years ago when they released Terrestrials. At the time they had a female vocalist and like many Norwegian bands of that era edged on the bizarre and weird (does Ram-Zet still exist?) With previous album Binocular (2008) they  moved to a male vocalist and slightly shorter songs. Electronics and industral are now in the blend and at PPE 2008 they were easily one of the best surpises of the weekend. In two weeks time they are back in Baarlo and on of the shows I am most looking forward to. Monocle after a few listenings: basically they picked up where they left us nine years ago with Binocular. I did not hear an uber earwurm like Tight Tie yet, but that can change after seeing them live. Atrox always were amongst the more adventurous progmetal bands and they did not change. Wish it was 7 October 18:30 already. No delays at dinner break accepted.

The Contortionist - Clairvoyant
Many bands walked the path from extreme or very heavy to way softer over the years. In some cases old and new are good, while others were much better either heavy or in their less so format. Examples Anathema, Opeth, Enslaved or Leprous to name just a few aligned with Progmetal. Which version you like best is up to yourself. My most extreme example is Cave In, who I discovered when releasing their progmetal classic Jupiter. Later I bought and found out that they came from hardcorish metal and left with alternative rock, just giving the world one not to miss album. But this is about The Contortionist. On their latest Clairvoyant they moved down one degree to even softer sounds. Yet it seems to work well with them. I stepped in with Intrinsic, which had still a fair lot of harsh vocals and metal.Previous album Language ended very high on my end of year list and now we have Clairvoyant. Gone are the wild screams, in comes the djent light / rock music. But it kept this stamp of quality The Contortionist seems to guarantee always. Last year I saw them opening for Tesseract and winning. Hoping for a return as headliner now.

Threshold - Legends of the Shires
It's 1993 Kees LP sits in the center of town and one day walking in I received the comment "As you like bands like Dream Theater, Queensryche, Fates Warning, Lethal, Watchtower and the likes, you should try this". This was Wounded Land and I was sold. Brilliant vocalist Damian Wilson left the band and they released my favorite Threshold album Psychedelicatessen with new vocalist Glynn Morgan. That album also contained their best song ever in Innocent. Fast forwarding to 2017 and brilliant vocalist Damian Wilson left again to be replaced by Glynn Morgan. And to my astonishment they managed to release their best album in years. They did not only lost the voice of Damian, but also the metallic riffs of Pete Morten. Yet since the first time I heard this album I totally love it. The beautifull melodies that stay in your head at once, the very typical Threshold heavy riffs and the strong voice of Glynn. This double concept album holds too many highlights to mention them all. So I just say, try this at home. Now we only have to wait and see them live. As I might not be able to see them 9 December around the corner  in de Boerderij, I am thinking about Weert on a Tuesday in November. And then we wait for Glynn live. In 1995 Threshold toured and from the three shows that tour two got cancelled due to Glynn losing his voice. Well we all got older and wiser over the past 22 years, so confident of a great live show.

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