I was kidding. I don’t hate metal, mind you, I’ve definitely got an appreciation for the classics like Sabbath and Priest, but it’s not really a kind of music I can listen to for long. I’m old, and I like my big band music.
Was more making conversation than trying to get out of hammer you with rec’s specifically :)
It’s something most other music-obsessed people in my life really seem to enjoy doing, but for my part, I find it really stressful.
See it’s funny, I come at it from nearly the extreme opposite approach (is it any wonder then tha prog Metal is my preferred genre?). And so when you say Blind Guardian, I can tease out multiple angles to approach it from. I could lay out a case for bands like Iced Earth, Hammerfall, Kamelot, and Avantasia.
Speaking of Tobias, Edguy to a lesser extent.
But the basic thing is I can connect some aspect of their composition or style that ties these bands into a web of components. From the type of distortion and vamp they use, to the inspirations, to the type of vocals (this is where BG is most unique, Hansi uses a very distinct style that isn’t easily replicated, especially post 80’s. Ray Alder is probably closest, in the No Exit phase of Fates Warning).
But from a pure musical composition they fall somewhere midway between Hammerfall and Kamelot, with Avantasia being pretty damn close to them. Probably the musically closest band I can think of, though I prefer BG as well.
As for Devin? He’s pretty damn unique. Oh sure I can point out individual songs and occasionally albums that have some stylistic similarity to another band. But holistically? No freaking way. I could connect Juular to Beyond Twilight perhaps, Bad Devil to Diablo Swing Orchestra, Letters from Africa to Riverside or Steven Wilson, The Mighty Masturbator to… shit I have no idea. Tesseract, Master Boot Record, Therion and…a bunch of other stuff I can’t begin to tease out without at least an hour of research. Guy is all over the map. Love him, but you can’t pin him down.
Point being that even when there is a clear musical lineage, seriously listen to the First Chapter by Circus Maximus, I can literally go song by song and say ‘Dream Theater, Queensryche, DT, DT, QR’, it’s still not a guarantee that if you like those bands, you’d enjoy them. For the record I do like them, particularly Isolation.
But that’s the beauty. You and I connect to music in very different ways. I come from a ‘I grew up playing and have a broad musical theory understanding formed by over a decade of serious musical study’ set, and so if I can’t connect intellectually to the composition, it will always fail for me. You have a very different criteria, but one no less valid. So rock on Armando!
Yeah, and funnily enough, those were some of the earliest recommendations to me (along with Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Persuader, Manticora, Rhapsody [lol], and Sonata Arctica). Yet I was disappointed each and every time. Don’t get me wrong; I love a lot of those bands. Seen a decent chunk of them live, for that matter. But none of them really scratched the same itch, and I think for me, it’s some weird, holistic, “sum of its parts” thing for BG and DT both.
I will say that vocals are a big part of it, and both of those hit the same part of my brain that–stick with me here–bands like Offspring, Rise Against, and AFI do in the punk realm. Something of an element of a male voice on the ragged edge of completely blowing out from this sheer force of power and will behind it, a wailing otherworldly cry forced through an all-too-fragile mortal shell. None of the voices sound especially like each other, and yet there is something intrinsic to all of them that I love in the same way.
In the case of BG, that vocal is overlaid with everything from their kind of muddy production (goddammit, Sascha Paeth), noodly and ever-present lead guitar melodies, chunky and understated rhythm guitar, thumping and often frenetic drumming, bombastic use of male choir and overdubbed vocals, overdubbed guitars, wall of soundy elements, bits of classical instrumentation and keyboards here and there, over-the-top theatricality, febrile tension hung throughout. . .
. . . I dunno. No one else really combines it all, but somehow, DT is actually one of the closest for me, although still wildly different. But listening to them both gives me a similar series of emotional and physical responses :)
Ok, for the vocals, have you listened to classic Fates Warning?
Ray is easily a top 3 vocalist for me
One reason why
Yeah; they’re a band I’ve repeatedly bounced off of. i think a lot of is the production, tbh; it always sounds a little like they were recording in a very small and very tiled bathroom.
But nope, I can’t tell you exactly why, but the vocals just don’t hit that same brainspace for me. Maybe it’s a lack of grit? A lack of unff? A lack of. . . vocal umami?
Mind, they do kinda remind me of peak Geoff Tate, which is a good thing, but it’s also a very different thing.
Before he went batshit crazy. Guy had chops, too bad he decided to go the Axl Rose route
God. . . what a damn shame. Operation: Mindcrime is like, the 3rd or 4th best concept album of all time, dammit.
There is some stiff competition, Scenes from a Memory, The Black Halo, V: The New Mythology, and 01011001 would like a word, but it would be very hard for me not to fit it in there as top 5 at least.
It’s definitely a top 10 album of all time material.
I probably go
- Nightfall in Middle Earth
- The Wake of Magellan
- The Electric Castle
- Operation: Mindcrime
- gonna cheat and treat Epica / The Black Halo as a single album to ease my conscious over it/them edging out 01011001
but I am a crazy person!
Geoff Tate sings the Star-Spangled Banner before Mariners/Seahawks games sometimes.
Man Nightfall definitely in there.
Electric Castle is great, have you listened to the 20th anniversary remasters?, but The Human Equation would be my second pick. And on the right day may be my first.
Since I brought up Kamelot, and I know you are a big Roy fan, but have you listened to any of Tommy Karevic’s other band? Seventh Wonder’s Mercy Falls is fantastic. Not enough to bump any of the above, like Wake of Magellan and The Glorious Burden it falls slightly below the S tier but is firmly A tier.
Headspace’s I Am Anonymous is also in he mix for me. And Redemption’s Themis Mortal Coil would be too 5 with a slightly better mix (it’s probably around 8-10 otherwise)
I’m not as hip on their older material but last year’s Tiara was really fucking good, IMO, though it was hurt in my EOY rankings due to its late release date.
In any case, I’ll be seeing them (and motherfucking DEMONS AND WIZARDS) headlining ProgPower this year in Atlanta, so fuckkkkkk yessssss.
Mercy Falls is, IMO, their best album. Become is second.
Ohhhhhh yeah! Sorry, just reopened Mercy Falls on my PC Play Music client, and yeah, I’ve spent this about a 10 times all the way through over the last decade. It never quite crested in my consciousness as a top-tier album, but I obviously liked it enough to go back to it several times. Going based off of play counts, I found “Paradise” in particular to be a banger.
Frontierer has shown up on a couple best of 2018 lists and I decided to give them a listen. As time goes on it becomes more apparent that I’m into really shitty fucking djent, because that’s all this really is. But I love it, so sue me.
To me it sounds like Frontierer = Some_random_djent_guy_with_a_computer + Mindless Self Indulgence + A much less technical or risky Dillinger Escape Plan. Which is still a good mix for me. It’s not the most brainy stuff out there, but for people that want to pretend like they enjoy weird time signatures, and don’t mind the fact that the band never really plays any actual notes, but instead just hits stuff at different rhythms (every instrument is more or less treated as a percussion instrument here), it’s a good listen. It works well for me anyway, for reasons I don’t fully understand (bad taste in music? naaaah)
Anyway, I’ve been listening to them for abut a month now and I’m glad I discovered them.
Oh, and these Youtube rips are compressed as shit for some reason. My download from Bandcamp is much cleaner.
Metal only Portland could come up with (old but awesome)
Syu has a new collaborative album out soon. Here’s his tune with Fuki.
There’s a high vocal note from Fuki just before the two solos which is jarring/bloody awful but those solos are sweet, classic Syu, or I should say, neoclassical Syu
Hehe I had a listen and it’s pretty good. I think this fits into the so-called ‘autumnal’ style by the sounds of it.