Category Archives: Progressive Rock

Song of the Week: Coroner – Son of Lilith

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The Swiss power trio Coroner has often been called the “Rush of Thrash” for their progressive bent and formidable performances. And their albums don’t get much more progressive and formidable than their fourth, 1991’s Mental Vortex. Here’s one of my favourite tracks from it, Son of Lilith. It’s still got enough crunch and neck-snapping intensity to please thrashers but this song is more about precision and groove. It’s got an earworm of a chorus and a guitar solo to die for. Total class.

[Coroner – Son of Lilith]

New Releases – 24th February 2017

They’re new and they’ve been released. It’s the Friday new releases!

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Immolation – Atonement

New York’s purveyors of consistently excellent and uncompromising death metal are back with their new album… and their old logo! The tracks I’ve heard so far sound phenomenal: instantly engaging, monolithic bludgeon with expert pacing and some blackened strums just to top things off. The limited edition digipak CD looks like the way to go for bonus tracks as it features the re-recorded version of Immolation that appeared on one of Decibel Mag’s flexi-discs a while back. Yes please.

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Sanctuary – Inception

This release is being touted as the prequel to Sanctuary’s 1988 debut album Refuge Denied but it’s basically old demos from 1986. But, either way, we’re lucky to have them as the “lost” tape was recently discovered in a barn(!) It’s excellent thrashy power prog with high-flying vocals that’ll hit fans of Queensryche right where they live. Looks like this’ll be a cool package with all the compulsory memorabilia, liner notes and stuff too.

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Power Trip – Nightmare Logic

Never heard of this band so it was strange to see them pop up in the Guardian this week… how’d they pull that off? Good on them though. Any band that gets Bolt Thrower and Sacrilege into a mainstream paper is fine by me so they deserve a listen just for doing that! Sounds like this’ll be some good retro-thrash fun, although the harsh vocals might take a bit of getting used to for some listeners.

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Sunless – Urraca

This is an intriguing debut release. Might have passed it by but I spotted their guitarist playing a Strat. You hardly ever see extreme metal players playing Strats! So I gave a track a go just on that basis alone and it was very impressive indeed. A dissonant, creative maze of riffs but grounded in solid death metal. Definitely one to check out on Bandcamp.

Elsewhere, we have more death metal veterans, Sinister, back with their new album Syncretism. I’m not all that familiar with this band so it’s overshadowed by the Immolation release. The cover for this is much better though! Amorphis pull an Anthrax with a “Tour Edition” of their last album Under the Red Cloud. Quite a few live tracks so maybe worth another purchase for the diehards but I don’t think these kind of releases should be encouraged. (**UPDATE** If you don’t want to buy the Amorphis album all over again you can download the extra disc An Evening With Friends at Huvila on its own, as MP3/M4A/FLAC here.) And last, but not least, there’s Siberian with Through Ages of Sleep, which sounds like an Isis/Neurosis kind of effort. I love sleeping for ages but I’m not so keen on this vocal style so I’ll pass. Fans of post-metal should give this a bash though.

And that’s the lot for another week. Some good underground releases this week. Immolation is the main must-buy for sure but plenty of other stuff here that warrants further investigation. I’m especially intrigued by Sunless. Let me know what I’ve missed and let me know if there’s anything that is particularly tickling your fancy/getting your goat. Happy hunting!

New Releases – 10th February 2017

Another Friday is upon us and that means… new stuff!

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Cynic – Uroboric Forms: The Complete Demo Collection

Cynic’s 1993 debut album Focus is the stuff of giddy prog tech wonderfulness. But there has always been grumblings of discontent among death metal fans who feel that the debut album was a disappointment compared to the band’s earlier demos. I’ll be able to make my own mind up now, as the pre-Focus demos get this official release. The CD version looks great but the vinyl edition is particularly snazzy, and has the CD and a 7″ with it too, so that’s the one I’ve pre-ordered.

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Overkill – The Grinding Wheel

Following the return of Kreator last week, the thrash good-times continue with the return of New Jersey veterans Overkill. Actually, of the classic thrash acts, Overkill are one of the few that just never caught on with me. So I’ll probably pass on this myself… I’d rather try some older albums again than hop on here. But if you’re up for buying this, the limited edition CD and vinyl versions have a bonus track, Emerald… I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that’s a Lizzy cover?

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Nidingr – The High Heat Licks Against Heaven

I’ve never heard these Norwegian black metallers but I know the name through (their guitarist) Teloch’s involvement with Mayhem and their last album Estoteric Warfare. He was the main writer for that impressive album so if you enjoyed his work with Mayhem, this should be worth looking into. And I love that title.

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Mayhem – Live in Zeitz

Speaking of Mayhem! This old live recording was recently featured as a bonus disc with the Live in Leipzig reissue. But then a version taken from a better source was released very soon afterwards as a standalone vinyl edition with new liner notes and packaging. I was more than a little annoyed at this so I didn’t buy the vinyl. But now this cheaper CD version is hitting the shops so I think I might finally upgrade. No doubt, they’ll find an even better version down the back of the couch next week.

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Sleep – The Clarity

Not strictly a “new” Sleep song as it was available as a free download a couple of years ago on the Adult Swim site. But here it is on 12″ vinyl. I’ve never been a big Sleep fan but this is a great track and it’s well worth getting if you don’t have the song already and/or love vinyl. Just the one side of music here but the B-Side will have a, no doubt suitably cosmic, etching.

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Def Leppard – And There Will Be a Next Time: Live from Detroit

And finally, we’ve got Def Leppard’s new live DVD/BR/CD combo And There Will Be a Next Time: Live from Detroit. I’d normally be a sucker for some live Lep but after Mirrorball and Viva! Hysteria made little impact, not to mention their dicey self-titled album, I can’t work up any enthusiasm for this. Arm no geddon it.

And that’s quite enough for one week, thank you very much! Happy hunting.

New Releases – 3rd February 2017

February already, eh? Soon be Christmas! Let’s have a gawp at the latest releases…

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Judas Priest – Turbo 30

First off, we’ve got the 30th anniversary reissue of the controversial Priest album. Available as a remastered album-only 180g vinyl or you can buy the 3CD edition that adds a double-CD live set from 1986. It’s hardly the full selection of Turbo-era rarities that you would have been hoping for, and the live disc is very similar to Priest Live!, but this still looks like a decent reissue. Live Priest is always worth a punt, though.

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Deep Purple – Time for Bedlam EP

The veteran rockers drop an EP to tide you over while you wait on the new album inFinite, which is due out on April. Collectors will mainly want this for the non-album track Paradise Bar and there’s also an instrumental version of Uncommon Man and a rehearsal version a new track Hip Boots too. I’m sure Purps fans will dig all this stuff but… I’m bowing out. I just can’t be arsed with their modern style anymore.

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Master – Master

Hammerheart Records are releasing various editions of this proto-death classic. Choose from the single CD, a frankly beautiful vinyl edition, and a 2CD deluxe with a bunch of bonus stuff: including a different “triggered” mix of the album (wat?), some unreleased rehearsals and the “unreleased” 1985 album (which has been “released” a few times now!) Looks like this could be the definitive version of a cracking album.

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The Mist – Phantasmagoria

Greyhaze Records reissues another Brazilian gem from the Cogumelo roster on CD/Vinyl/Tape. This time it’s The Mist’s Phantasmagoria from 1989. This one will suit fans of old Coroner, Kreator and Destruction. It’s quite slick and accomplished by Cogumelo standards but still rough enough to keep the falses out! I don’t think this album is quite the “lost classic” it’s being pumped up to be but it’s an enjoyable genre entry. If you’re a thrash addict that “mist” out on it when it was released, this is well worth investigating.

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Soen – Lykaia

Third album of prog-metal from ex-Opeth drummer Martin Lopez and friends. I’ve always gave them a bye cause of the Opeth/Tool comparison but their new track Lucidity sounded pretty decent. Decent enough for me to want to hear more.

In a less HMO-friendly vein, there’s also Iron Reagan with Crossover Ministry and Black Star Riders with Heavy Fire. I’m not enough of a crossover fan to bother with Iron Reagan (do like that name though). And I just can’t get into Black Star Riders at all. Kudos to them for doing their own thing and throwing off the Lizzy tag but I’ve not heard anything from them that makes me want to care.

Of today’s lot, I’ll definitely be wanting the Master, Priest and The Mist releases. In that order of preference. And I’ll give the Soen album a listen online too and see if it floats my boat. And that’s it for another week. As usual, let me know what I’ve missed and if there’s anything here that you just gotta have. Happy hunting!

New Releases – 27th January 2017

It’s Friday. Time for some new releases!

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Kreator – Gods of Violence

I can’t believe its been nearly five years since Kreator’s last album Phantom Antichrist. That album is still one of the best thrash releases of the decade so far, and now the German veterans are back with the hotly-anticipated follow-up. As usual, there’s a mess of versions but the main draw seems to be an extra live DVD or Blu Ray depending on your preference. There are also big box sets for paraphernalia-lovers, people that can’t decide which format they prefer and people that find things like “certificates of authenticity” exciting.

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Annihilator – Triple Threat

The obligatory CanCon of the week! The Canadian thrashers return with three new discs! And it’s called Triple Threat! See what they did there? So you get a disc of acoustic versions of their thrash classics (umm) and a live electric set. And then you get a DVD or a Blu Ray of both of those performances and some extras. Seems like a lot of bang for your Canuck bucks but, here’s the kicker… there is also a 2CD version. Should they not have called that, I dunno, Double Dip?

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Stephen Pearcy – Smash

Here’s the new solo outing from the current, or ex, Ratt vocalist (depending on who you talk to). I’m well out of the Ratt loop but I heard one track Ten Miles Wide and it was good fun. His voice sounded good and it didn’t sound like he was trying to move with the times, which is where a lot of classic rockers tend to trip up. Heard lots of good things about the last Ratt album too so maybe I should be catching up with this Ratt shit.

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Cream – Fresh Cream: Deluxe Edition

Cream’s debut album has been re-released plenty of times over the years but never with any notable extras that I can think of. This set looks pretty neat: three CDs and a Blu Ray with alternate mixes/versions, BBC sessions, a nice hardback book, sexy packaging and it’s not too pricey as these things go either. No certificate of authenticity though. Boo.

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Sepultura – The Roadrunner Albums: 1985 – 1996

Box set of the Brazilians’ classic run of albums, available in CD or vinyl sets. There is no bonus stuff on this but if you don’t have any of the band’s stuff, this is pretty much everything you need right here.

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The Great Old Ones – EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy

This is the third album of Lovecraft-inspired metal from this French outfit. Gambrel roofs, gibbous moons and fish-folk guaranteed! Looks like Season of Mist have done a really nice job on the packaging for this too.

Quite an interesting week, definitely some stuff here that I’ll want to check out. Anything I’ve missed? Anything you fancy here? Let me know and… happy hunting!

New Releases – 20th January 2017

Here’s my personal pick of the new metal releases coming out today. There’s only a few that stand out but we are starting to get into the first properly tempting releases of the year now.

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Memoriam – The Hellfire Demos II

Following the sad death of their drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, the legendary Bolt Thrower called it a day in 2016. But their vocalist Karl Willetts has formed Memoriam along with old BT pal Andy Whale and members of Benediction and Sacrilege for added supergroupness. Their debut single The Hellfire Demos was one of 2016’s best singles and now they’re back with the follow-up: one unheard track Drone Strike and Surrounded (By Death) which was previously only available on a Decibel mag flexi. This will be available on vinyl (through Nuclear Blast’s webshop) and you can download it from the usual places. It’s the first real must-buy of the year so get involved!

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Emptiness – Not For Music

Time flies. I was meaning to check out Emptiness’ Nothing But the Whole since it was released in 2014 and I still haven’t got round it. Now they’re back with a new album! I had a listen to a new song Your Skin Won’t Hide You and was thoroughly impressed by its black, unsettling atmosphere. It’s an exciting track, I’ve been reading good things and I love the cover too so this is looking like another must-buy. And as an added bonus, they’re Belgian. I can finally add some Belgian metal to the HMO Vault!

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Ashenspire – Speak Not Of The Laudanum Quandary

Here’s a promising debut from a Glaswegian avant-garde metal band. It’s an intriguing concept album about the dark realities of British imperialism: something Glasgwegians should know plenty about, with its history of tobacco lords, slave trade and all that. It’s an interesting topic, I like the atmosphere, deranged vocals and the violin but the songs I’ve heard have went a bit over my head. More listens required to see if it connects with me but if you like the weirder strains of metal you should definitely give this a go.

And that’s the lot for this week. To play us out, I thought you might enjoy a wee visual jaunt around Glasgow (it is HMO’s neck of the woods, after all) so here’s the lyric video for Ashenspire’s Restless Giants.

New Releases – Black Friday 2016

This Friday, 25th November, will be Black Friday and that means special Record Store Day releases! There will be rare albums and singles released, some new and some reissued. There will be limited editions, fancy gatefolds and vinyl that comes in all ranges of exciting colours like “red”, “clear”, “gold”, “green”, “jobby”, “cherry trifle” and “the colour out of space”.

This is all a much bigger deal in the US where Black Friday is more of a “thing”. It hasn’t quite caught on as much over here in the UK so our list of titles is considerably smaller. Boo. However, the RSD high heid yins promise us that many of the US titles will be released in the UK at some point in the future.

There’s still some good stuff coming out in the UK though, so here’s a selection of the stuff I reckon is the most tempting. But make sure and check out the rest of the available titles for yourself. The UK list here and the much bigger US list here.

Alice Cooper – Live from the Astroturf

Automatically the release of the day as it includes the surviving members of the classic original band. A 7″ single with live versions of I’m Eighteen and Is It My Body: that’s two unfuckwithable classics right there. It’s a gatefold with art prints too. If I was buying one Black Friday release today, it would be this one.

Faith No More – Cone of Shame

The fourth single to come off their excellent Sol Invictus album. This is released everywhere on Friday but only seems to be classed as an RSD-exclusive release in the UK. Just in case you get confused and think it’s only a UK release. It isn’t. The B-Side is just a remix of Motherfucker so I can probably live without this.

Alice in Chains – Live Facelift

The six concert tracks from Alice in Chains live video get their first (I think?) audio-only release. It’s definitely the first vinyl release at any rate. You can’t beat a bit of AIC, especially with Layne Staley, so this is fairly tantalizing. Don’t think I’d want it enough to queue up or get in a fight though…

Jethro Tull – Ring Out, Solstice Bells

The Tull’s Christmas EP given a 40th Anniversary reissue. These tracks are probably available elsewhere and almost certainly remixed by Steven Wilson. Cause what isn’t these days? I do like the idea of this one though… a wee Christmassy bit of Tull.

Napalm Death/Melt Banana – Split

Split 7″ with the UK grind legends and the Japanese noisemakers Melt Banana. Not sure about Metal Banana but Napalm are in great form these days and this looks pretty tempting. Cool cover too.

And that’s about it for me. There’s other stuff like the recent Extreme live album on vinyl, more Hendrix archive-raking, a totally pointless Mötley Crüe disc and on and on and on. But let’s not get carried away here. I don’t go mad for RSD stuff and can’t even really see myself buying most of the stuff I’ve selected here. I would like a copy of the Coop single but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it if I miss out either.

If there’s anything you particularly have your sights on please chip in below and… good luck! I’ll back on Friday with a look at the day’s normal releases. And I tell you, there are a couple of “normal” releases out on Friday that blow this lot right out the water. See you then!