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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Out Of The Beyond 25

Keith Emmerson Band: Keith Emmerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla (2008)

Everyone knows about Keith Emmerson's time in 70's progressive rock legends ELP, he has appeared on many albums in a special guest capacity and also on solo albums but this is his first album with a new band and he has acquired some fantastic musicians s to help his sizeable keyboard playing talents. The main talent is that of Marc Bonilla who provides some virtuoso guitar playing as well as the vocals, the guitar of Bonilla is in perfect harmony with Emmerson's keys and organ and they make a fantastic musical tandem, the writing too is split between Bonilla and Emmerson and the album itself is one conceptual piece split into 15 tracks, most of which are instrumental, with the fantastic Marche Train being the first fully formed rock track and a track that shows off Bonilla's voice and also his superb guitar playing, ending in a fantastic explosive guitar solo, the acoustic A Place To Hide is also a real standout because of its jazz piano and strong relaxed ballad delivery. After the concept piece comes four separate tracks that all differ massively The Art Of Falling Down has a classic ELP sound due to its synths, moogs and organ. Malambo a Latin instrumental, Gametime is the soundtrack to a bluegrass and baseball and then final track The Parting is another powerful ballad. This is an excellent album that shows really how talented it's two creators are, if you dig classic real prog then you will love this. 9/10

Bloodshot Dawn: Self-Titled (2012)

Bloodshot Dawn are a melodic death metal band from Portsmouth and this was their debut album, it is an absolute cracker of a debut featuring some sterling guitar work from Josh McMorran and Ben Ellis who provide some serious guitar chops with technical speed riffage and some dual guitar solos that will tear your face off. McMorran also has a fantastic voice with some very guttural roars that complement the technical ferocity of the riffage; the band has a sound similar to Arch Enemy, At The Gates and Amon Amarth with the progression of Cynic. The drums and bass playing are also excellent with the blast beats coming thick and fast as the tracks move between thrash speed metal riffage and heavy riff breaks for head banging. From Beckoning Oblivion through the progressive Godless to the final track Archetype this is a melo-death tour de force with some frankly fantastic guitar playing and more importantly some great songs to just bang your head too. 8/10

Enbound: And She Says Gold (2011)

This is Swede's Enbound debut album and they immediately set out there stall. The band play big bold and hook filled power metal in the style if Stratovarius or Sonata Arctica. The album is full of some very good riffage from Martin Flowberg who straddles boundaries between poppy power metal and some heavy speed metal most prevalent on the progressive Shifting Gears; he also pulls off some excellent soloing on every track. Not to be outdone however bassist Swede and drummer Mike Force both play at near virtuosic levels with Swede being especially good. So then we move onto vocalist Lee Hunter who is also fantastic having a very Tony Kakko style vocal and thus the inevitable Sonata comparisons especially on Under A Spell. The band are not just your run of the mill power metal band they add some very good additions to enhance their sound. There are a lot of keys and pianos on ballads like beautifully orchestrated The Broken Heart and the acoustic Frozen To Be which is a duet with female singer LaGaylia Fraizer. They also have lots of electronics with a very dance like feel to Untitled X. Enbound have released a very good debut that has a the hallmarks of their peers. They also do an excellent supercharged cover of Beat It! 8/10

Lost In Thought: Opus Arise (2011)

Dream Theater, America's premier prog metal band has a signature sound. Lost In Thought have taken this sound to heart, they have copied it wholesale but do it in such a way that they have made it their own. For a band on their debut these songs are of fantastic quality they soar majestically and then drop into some snarling metal riffage bolstered by some rapid fire keyboards and drumming and that’s just the opening track Beyond The Flames. The Dream Theater comparisons come from the vocals of Nate Loosemore who is a dead ringer for James LaBrie. What is really striking about these songs is just how good they are, many would be right at home on the new DT album as well as those by Symphony X or Pagan's Mind. The guitars of David Grey are great providing some sublime solos and monster riffs, the drums of Chris Billingham guide all of the time changes and the keys of Greg Baker bring an electric pulse and some classical melody to all of the tracks. The time changes and genre shifts are all very well done and the band are far more talented than their years suggest. In the live field Lost In Thought didn't do it for me but on record these Welshmen play some seriously good progressive metal. (This is a similar reaction I have to their American influence). 8/10

*Addition as of April 2013 Lost In Thought are no more, another promising band gone...

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