our oceans album cover

Album Review: Our Oceans – Our Oceans

Are you ever surprised by an album from its opening note onward? It was in sheer amazement that I played Our Oceans debut self-titled album for the first time. Why you ask? When you take members of progressive metal bands Cynic and Exivious, and members of black metal bands like Dodecahedron, one doesn’t think to call such a collaboration “artsy,” “cheerful,” and “classy.” Their newest collaboration called Our Oceans is indeed artsy and lighthearted, filled with post-rock atmospheres, jazzy bass grooves, and alternative, clean guitar arrangements. No unrelenting blast drum beats, surprising time signature changes, or headache-inducing scream vocals to be found in this album, which honestly is quite refreshing. I believe you all will agree with me that Our Oceans is something special.Read More »

dream theater the gift of music

Single Review: Dream Theater – The Gift Of Music

The greatest tease to be released this year, we all have been given the first taste of Dream Theater’s extravagant upcoming album “The Astonishing.” I’ve been nerding over this over my social media pages because of the sheer amount of information and detail going into this album. With a steady release of characters, maps, track titles, and more, “The Astonishing” is starting to piece together. Although the album will not be released until early next year, Dream Theater has released the first official single for the album, titled “The Gift Of Music.”

“The Gift Of Music” portrays the differing eras and sounds of Dream Theater in a four minute track. With glimpses of their previous self-titled album, I love the lightheartedness of the guitar rhythms and keyboards, provided by John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess respectively. Imagining tracks like “The Looking Glass” and “Behind The Veil,” the phased out sound of the rhythm section grabs the listeners attention. Another layer is added with the forceful drum beats reminiscent of Dream Theater’s earlier material. Songs like “Erotomania” and “Lie” off their album “Awake” jump up in my mind, something that has been lacking in their last couple albums. Finally, the vocal approach by singer James Labrie reminds me of the second part of the album “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence,” an album which also utilizes different vocal deliveries depending on the themes of each song. If the quality of “The Astonishing” matches “The Gift Of Music,” the sky is the limit for what could potentially be one of the most sophisticated albums in their discography, better yet the progressive metal genre.

After reading over John Petrucci’s interview with Rolling Stone magazine, I become more aware of the choral presence in the song. Learning that Dream Theater has recruited Beck’s father to conduct choirs and symphonies in this album, I audibly gasped. Recalling the fantastic and original performance of their live album “Score,” which too used the help of conductor Jamshied Sharifi and the “Octavarium Orchstra” to provide symphonic touches to reimaginations of their most popular songs at the time, I could only imagine their usage in this album. I am now most interested in hearing not only their incorporation in this album, but also their inclusion in a live setting. Dream Theater will be performing “The Astonishing” over several dates in Europe using these same orchestral musicians, something I only hope they will recreate in the United States.

So without further wait, enjoy “The Gift Of Music” by Dream Theater. It truly is a gift.

silent line shattered shores

Album Review: Silent Line – Shattered Shores

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago did I find and begin listening to Canadian melodic/symphonic death metal band Silent Line. Approached by Asher Media Relations, it took a few weeks before I had the chance to sit down with the album, along with completing my ritual of basic research. Having recently released their third album titled “Shattered Shores,” I was surprised to see the numerous mixed to negative reviews of their album. Citing a lack of direction and a poor vocal performance, I spent more time on “Shattered Shores” than typical. Why did I feel differently towards this album than most reviewers? What makes the album an enjoyable listening experience? Here lies my problem that I am still having difficulty solving even now.Read More »

bruce soord

Album Review: Bruce Soord – Bruce Soord

Those who’ve recognized the name on this next review might’ve heard it while reading my “Magnolia” post. Better known as the frontman behind progressive rock’s The Pineapple Thief, singer/guitarist Bruce Soord released his first solo album last week. Having performed on numerous records over the past couple decades, it came as a surprised when I found out his latest self-titled album “Bruce Soord” was indeed his first solo work. Many well-known musicians in the past have drifted from their original bands for better or worse with a goal to differentiate themselves. His latest album does just that, but is surprisingly deep, passionate, and introspective in comparison to his prior performances.Read More »

Album Review: Ontologics – Drones From Home

Crash and Ride Music’s favorite prog-hop band Ontologics released their newest album recently called “Drones From Home.” As you can ascertain from the title, the album consists of several politically and socially charged songs, residing in the same spectrum as Rage Against The Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers. But readers of their last album review on this site know that Ontologics’ sound is far more than that. Drawing upon influences of progressive rock and jazz, “Drones From Home” again dazzles its listeners with its distinctive and fresh sound.Read More »

Concert Review: TesseracT / The Contortionist / Erra / Skyharbor

When news hit that TesseracT would be touring across North America in support of their newest album “Polaris,” I did everything in my power to leave my night open for them. My anticipation intensified when I found out that The Contortionist, Erra, and Skyharbor were supporting them. For those who don’t know of these bands, this is a massive lineup, containing some of the brightest, up-and-coming bands in the progressive metal genre. I was lucky enough to have been given an opportunity from Entertainment One Group to write about TesseracT’s latest stop at the House of Blues in San Diego on Monday. With so much enthusiasm going into this concert, I made sure to listen to every band’s discography a week before the show. Although I may have not remembered all of the lyrics or powerful moments of every band’s songs, I did enter through the venue doors with an idea of what to expect.Read More »