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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Reviews: Five Finger Death Punch, Touchstone, Magenta

Five Finger Death Punch: American Capitalist (Spinefarm)

FFDP are the epitome of 'modern metal' merging thrash, groove, metalcore and nu metal to create their brand of angry metal. The band are equally loved and derided in equal measure and while I don't 'love' them I enjoyed their last two albums (they are great in the gym.) This album is their third and it is a case of business as usual, the opening title track sets the tone with its heavy riffing, double kicking and both shouted and melodic vocals from frontman Ivan Moody. First single Under And Over It is admittedly a bit weak but following track The Pride makes up for this by being almost an angrier version of R.E.M's End Of The World As We Know It. The rest of the album is unfortunately very samey, the double kick drumming, precision riffing and aggressive but upbeat vocal passages are prominent throughout. This album does have more soloing than the last to albums which is a bonus but still the band do seem to be going through the motions. A band that seems to be more of live commodity than a recorded one FFDP just don't seem to have progressed since War Is The Answer, whether that is deliberate or not is up for debate. In conclusion this album is good, the playing is tight and professional, Kevin Churkos's production is meaty and modern and the songs fit well with the bands style, however the band do seem to have plateaued somewhat which will do them no favours with critics. 6/10   

Touchstone: The City Sleeps (SPV/Spinefarm)

Touchstone have managed to bring their female fronted prog rock around for a third album. However unlike other bands in the genre they have a harder almost metal edge that is mixed with very poppy sensibilities this is because the two vocalists Kim Seviour and Rob Cottingham both have very strong but distinctly poppy voices. The band are all fantastic players Cottingham also handles the keys which create the main melodic basis of the songs, Adam Hodgson's guitar playing is fantastic especially on Good Boy Psycho. The album starts with a propulsive opener in Corridors which is followed by the first of two epic tracks called When Shadows Fall which is a sequel to the track Shadows on their debut album. Two shorter speedy numbers follow before in my opinion one of the best tracks on the album in Sleeping Giants which is a haunting ballad that is nearly all sung by Cottingham who was a little under used on the last album but regains his voice on this album, the track is fantastic and very emotional as is Horizons which again is sung mainly by Cottingham and has an early Genesis vibe to it albeit with a modern edge. Good Boy Psycho is a schizophrenic rocker that ends in the aforementioned guitar explosion. The new songs all have a distinctly metallic edge and also could fall into the melodic rock of Saga and Eden's Curse. The final and title track is probably the most powerful one as it continues the Wintercoast concept that started on their last Jeremy Irons Narrated album of the same name. This again features voice-over talent with Anna-Marie Wayne (daughter of Jeff Wayne the creator of the musical War Of The Worlds) doing the honours this time around. The band really goes hell for leather on this track and it pays off as this is probably the best on the album. All in all and excellent album from a band that should have more kudos than they do. 8/10

Magenta: The Collection (Tigermoth Records)

This is a free compilation from the Welsh female fronted progressive rock band. It comes with nine of their most well-known tracks from their last 4 albums. It is a promotional release to advertise the bands upcoming tour and having seen the band live this is one you should check out. The album itself starts with their most well-known song Speechless what follows are 9 well-crafted true progressive rock songs in the style of Genesis or Marillion and also the neo-prog of Pendragon. This is an excellent album for any fan of the genre. The cd is available from Spillers and can also be downloaded from their website. 7/10

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