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Monday, 18 May 2015

Reviews: Karmaflow, Anekdoten, Ghost Ship Octavius

Karmaflow: The Orginal Soundtrack Album (Self Released)

Karmaflow or Karmaflow: The Rock Opera Videogame to give it, it's full title is the soundtrack album to videogame that is part puzzle platformer, part rock opera, the game is entirely sung with an emphasis on the symphonic and power metal genre and as such features some of the biggest names in the game lending their talents to it, all of them are no strangers to rock operas or indeed symphonic metal. The vocalists involved are:

Simone Simons (Epica)
Mark Jansen (Epica/After Forever/MaYan)
Dani Filth & Lindsey Schoolcraft (Cradle Of Filth)
Marc Hudson (Dragonforce)
Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy)
Elize Ryd (Amaranthe)
Charlotte Wessels (Delain)
Henning Basse (MaYan)
Mariangela Demurtas (Tristiania)
Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) 
Daniel de Jongh (Textures)
Lissette Van Den Berg (Scarlet Stories)
Bas Dolmas (Ex-Xystus)   

So with this amount of talent backed by musicians coming from members of Epica, Within Temptation and HDK and MaYan and of course the extremely talented and versatile Metropole Orkest who are the solid backbone of the album there was always going to be a lot of talent on show throughout the album. An album that really has to be listened too to be believed but much like Tuomas Holopainen's classical album, the Avantasia and Ayreon projects. This is a bit like audio Marmite some will love it, some will hate it, I am firmly in the love pile as I am enamoured the overblown nature of this record that successfully merges classical music and metal a great album from an interesting concept. 8/10

Anekdoten: Until The Ghosts Are Gone (Virta)

How do you start a prog rock album properly? A ten minute song full of swirling organ-led psychedelia, clean, sinuous guitar work, chugging bass and percussive, technical drumming, that will do it. Anekdoten are from the old school of prog with long instrumental passages, haunting vocals and virtuoso musicality all producing some pastoral, jazz influenced music on tracks like All Comes Down To You as well as rocking freakouts on Get Out Alive. The band have been doing the rounds for a while which means that they have honed their sound to play the best they can. As far as what they sound like goes they are not too dissimilar to the last two Opeth albums indeed Per Wiberg supplies some more organ to this album that is laready stuffed with more organ than you can jangle your keys too. The other organs come from main man Nicklas Baker (guitarist/mellotron/organ/vocals) and Anna Sofi Dahlberg (mellotron/organ/Rhodes) who are backed by Jan Erik Liljeström's jazz-like bass and Peter Nordins' superb drumming. With long spiralling songs filled with instrumental prowess Anekdoten are band that will entice and excite prog fans that love the Canterbury scene and classic folk flavoured progressive rock. 7/10   

Ghost Ship Octavius: S/T (Self Released)

Van Williams is the ex drummer of Nevermore and current drummer of Ashes Of Ares, he has recruited Ashes Of Ares guitarist Adon Fanion on guitars and vocals and former God Forbid guitarist Matt Wicklund to add their talent as the nucleus of this band taking most of the instrumentation between them. Sound wise we are in the prog metal territory with the ghost of Nevermore looming large, Fanion's vocals are a booming mid range that echo Warrell Dane and Matt Barlow and work well with both of their heavy prog metal riffs and Williams' excellent drumming. Now a man like Van Williams has some high quality contacts and he obviously went through his contact book to get some guests on this album, first of all is Dagna Silesia handles the bass playing, but nearly all of them are guitarists adding leads and solos with Scar Symmetry's Per Nilsson, ex-Nevermore and Ashes of Ares man Jeff Loomis, Savatage man Chris Caffery, Freak Kitchen six stringer Mattias Ia Eklundh and virtuoso session man Rusty Cooley. This album is nothing wildly removed from William's other work but when you play drums like a Gatling gun with progressive flourishes then this kind of music will always be the easiest to produce. If you love Nevermore, Iced Earth and modern day Symphony X then you will love Ghost Ship Octavius as it features some powerful, progressive metal played by some great musicians. 7/10

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