I am only going to do two in this update because really any fan of Prog/Power or just Metal should buy these albums. They are both from a band called Seventh Wonder.
Seventh Wonder hail from Sweden and were formed when Bassist Andreas Blomqvist's former band broke up. He formed Seventh Wonder and they have in total released 4 albums. I'm going to concentrate on the last two as they seem to be the most accomplished. The first is their third album which is called:
Mercy Falls- this is a concept album that focuses on the life of a man left comatose by a car accident, he creates his own city called Mercy Falls which is attacked by a flood, while in the real world his wife deals with guilt of infidelity and coping with her loss. The story for this album is very well written and it is very well told throughout the album with actors playing the parts described, usually on top of some great instrumental passages. There are few concept albums that work and this is one, in places it can be quite an emotional story but don't let that put you off and dismiss this as lightweight the music on offer is fantastic with guitar, bass and keys all being played with expert virtuosity. The majority of the tracks are driving prog/power metal epics with acoustic and instrumental passages added to increase the power of them. The two acoustic songs Tears of the Father and Tears of the Son provide two great introspective moments that sum up the real world situation of the album whereas the epic Break The Silence is a clinic in how this type of metal should be done. Some would say that a fault would be the length of this album and it is long, nearly 75 minutes, but when the playing and song writing is this good the time flies by. Also this time is needed to adequately tell the story. The album is well worth picking up if you’re a fan of the genre, concept albums, storytelling or metal in general. An essential purchase if there ever was one! 10/10
The next album is the most recent:
The Great Escape- Unlike the previous effort this is not a concept album but does feature two tracks that are linked. It is also more towards the power metal end of the spectrum. Only featuring 7 songs it may seem much shorter than its predecessor but as it features a track that is 30 minutes long, this is not the case. Again the playing is fantastic and Tommy Karevik's voice is one of the genres best, he shows the right amount of melody, power and emotion. All of the tracks are good but it is the first and last that are the heart of the album, first track Wiseman is a great opener and also serves as a prequel to the events that take place in the final track. The final and title track The Great Escape is based on the poems 'Aniara' by Swedish Nobel laureate Harry Martinson. It deals with the tragedy of a space ship which, originally bound for Mars with a cargo of surviving colonists from a ravaged and destroyed Earth, is ejected from the solar system and becomes entangled in an existential struggle. (Thank You Wikipedia) despite an unknown concept Seventh Wonder's knack for drawing you into a story is still their biggest power here as they are able to maintain your attention for the 30 minutes and for those who are not avid Dream Theater fans (I am an avid Dream Theater fan by the way) this is no mean feat. Another great album from a little known band again I urge you to seek this out and you will not be disappointed. 9/10
The 30 minute song: http://youtu.be/PEuaBvZkJLQ