23.7.15

Symphony X - Underworld (2015)

Finally the 9th studio album of Symphony X is here. Will this be their masterpiece ninth symphony? Songs like Nevermore and Without You that prior released give much hope to fans that it will be. The two songs package into the album called "Underworld", heavily influence by Dante's Inferno. This album follow very much the same works done by Symphony X from their two previous albums, Paradise Lost and Iconoblast. Although the gap between Iconoblast and Underworld is four years away, meaning there must be a lot of fresh idea to put in.

After the majestic "Overture", the first opener is "Nevermore". This song kicks in quickly with its leading riff, rightly jump into the progressive metal that Symphony X very much owned. It is heavy, fast and dark. Russel Allen's voice is kind of harsh to give some death metal touch. Gradually they move back to more melodic song such as "Underworld" and most notably in "Without You". Where the later is done much in old time power to melodic metal approach. The next two songs come almost similar, "Kiss of Fire" and "Charon", Symphony X enjoy their style in these two, which is characterized with strong guitar riffs then followed with progressive improvisation by the band. Another interesting point is definitely in "To Hell And Back". This one is nine minutes long, start with epic power metal feel, all the way to the most complicated song writing of the album.

Underworld is pretty much predictable for die hard fans, but it is also will not disappointing anybody because it is good and well written. The album consistent with Symphony X musical progress, no nasty surprise about the band experimenting something, well a bit but not much. With most of the members doing their own stuffs during their four years gap, this album is a good show that everybody still coming back to their own band's style. This album can easily presented to new fans who eager to seek out what progressive metal and Symphony X in particular.

Favorite tracks: Without You, To Hell And Back
Metal Harem class: ********* eight stars out of ten

Buy it Here - Amazon

Symphony X - Underworld (2015)

01. Overture
02. Nevermore
03. Underworld
04. Without You
05. Kiss of Fire
06. Charon
07. To Hell And Back
08. In My Darkest Hour
09. Run With The Devil
10. Swan Song
11. Legend

    Jason Rullo – drums
    Michael Lepond − bass guitar, backing vocals
    Michael Pinnella − keyboards, backing vocals
    Michael Romeo − guitar, backing vocals
    Russell Allen − lead vocals


19.7.15

Joe Satriani - Shockwave Supernova (2015)

He is one of most celebrated rock guitar instrumentalist of our age, Joe Satriani, has reach his 15th studio album with Shockwave Supernova. Although Satch begin his journey 30 years ago in the '80s, his music seems keep coming and coming. Unstoppable Moments as he describe in his previous album. In Shockwave Supernova a new concept introduce, and re-introduce. Shockwave Supernova as explained by Satch in the Youtube, Behind the Album episodes, are mostly materials taken from Unstoppable Moments. They are rewrite by  the moment Joe Satriani stopover in Singapore. One of other things that very interesting about S.S. is the backing band. Satch recruited the Aristocrats to back him up! Well, minus Guthrie Govan, only (Guthrie actually got his part in G4 tour organized by Joe). Marco Minnemann and Brian Beller are new gun to Joe, they are joined by long time Mike Keneally to form a new super band. The result quickly come to the surface, as the album sees many new ideas that harder to find in previous album.

Already the first song,  Shockwave Supernova, see the new sound coming in. This entrance song highlight is about the classic arpeggios-theme licks backed with Marco's progressive drummings. Satch still very much own his game with immediately Lost in a Memory, which is easily identified by fans with his Satch-style leading melody. There are 15 songs in this album. Those who traditionally attached to Joe Satriani, I can mentioned out are: In My Pocket, a satch-bogie one, San Francisco Blue, old timer bluesy tunes, and the flag ship song, If There Is No Heaven, brings us back to the standard Satriani's "catchy" simple drum beat. The other songs, we see many some fresh ideas. Its begin with Crazy Joe, where Marco got his first "difficult" task to handle the guitar that start with scattered blues lick to 16th notes. Marco's drumming come more frontal in On Peregrine Wings, where the double snare accent become the main theme on that song. While Mike Keneally got his keyboard highlight in Keep On Movin', although the main theme is kind of re-cycled old Satriani song we have listened in the past. Other interesting stuff keep coming, All Of My Life is pretty sweet all out mellow song in term of band playing, the percussion quite distinguished here. A Phase I'm Going Through see that reaching tenth song didn't mean the song writing become lessened in quality, in fact this song see another good song writing stuff that force us to listen it up to the end.

In short, this is a stunning album from Joe. This album benefit from intense song writing and backed with so much energy from Marco, Brian and Mike. The cliche about music chemistry is surely there. Hard to find one specific song that stand out because they all do. This album surely come above expectation. We can say that Joe Satriani's style is predictable, ehem, this album still easy to see that happened, but now with lot of details that make those familiar tunes become really awesome to revisited. Bring this one to your music station and let the Professor show us how the amazing things about guitar to be done.

Metal Harem class: ********** nine stars out of ten

Buy it Here - Amazon

Joe Satriani - Shockwave Supernova (2015)

01. Shockwave Supernova
02. Lost In A Memory
03. Crazy Joey
04. In My Pocket
05. On Peregrine Wings
06. Cataclysmic
07. San Francisco Blue
08. Keep On Movin'
09. All Of My Life
10. A Phase I'm Going Through
11. Scarborough Stomp
12. Butterfly And Zebra
13. If There Is No Heaven
14. Stars Race Across The Sky
15. Goodbye Supernova


    Joe Satriani – guitar
    Mike Keneally – guitar, keyboard
    Marco Minnemann – drums
    Bryan Beller – bass
    John Cuniberti - producer

10.7.15

Paul Wardingham - The Human Affliction (2015)

The Human Affliction is a continuation of the themes that inspired Assimilate Regenerate....

Is the premise for the 2nd Paul Wardingham studio album, The Human Affliction. As we all know, Paul Wardingham is Australian shredder that took the world by storm with his futuristic licks in the debut album Assimilate Regenerate in 2011. Going strong with that released, Paul then hailed as one of the latest young shredder wave alike of Andy James, Christian Muenzner, and others. His second album was await by many. In this July, Paul will delivered his second album, although it is obviously a continuation to the previous one, this new one got more boost on electronic stuffs.

The album started with quite melodious "Manufactured Existence". Running in the progressive metal platform, this is all-in shreds that showcase highly dynamic song writing. It is five minutes composition but the licks flows, connecting each passage giving many unexpected turn of events every several bars. The second track is "Beyond Human", that gone more aggressive with a laser blast-like elements. Enjoy the dark futuristic theme that done by guitar leads, despite everything seems "beyond human", the melodic is fore fronted and easy to follow. Paul also reserved a slower tempo track with haunting melancholic melodic in "The End is the Beginning". With all the electronic infused licks swirling around, a track like "Earth 2.0" is a contrasting point that changed the storyline.

Overall, The Human Affliction is an album full of outer space theme licks. Paul can be given a big round applause for his effort in putting everything in perfect writing and formed a very solid conceptual album, an instrumental guitar album. The atmosphere  kicks in since the first note being played, consistently put listener to the journey of whatever chapter Paul want us to be in. This is the album that combined metal guitar and some kind of dubstep's electronic creativity. In this respect, Paul runs on his own invented style very well. To have this journey, pre-order the long awaited new album now!

Metal Harem class: ********** nine stars out of ten

Buy it Here - Amazon

Paul Wardingham - The Human Affliction (2015)

1. Manufactured Existence
2. Beyond Human
3. Synthetic Mind
4. The End is the Beginning
5. Convergence
6. Digital Apocalypse
7. Earth 2.0
8. Simulated Reality
9 . Destroy The Artilect
10 . Exodus
11. Burning Chrome


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