Astral Path – Ashes Dancer

First off, Ashes Dancer would’ve made a much more interesting band name, and Astral Path would’ve been a cooler album name, for what it’s worth (especially considering another metal band named Astral Path already released an album this year). Other than that, this is just pretty good prog death. The melodies are good, but not amazing, following very predictable patterns and chord progressions, but being relatively pleasing nonetheless. The band can craft some mean solos though, especially on Drag Me Down, which is easily my favorite track on the album.

What really gets me though, is the deathcore-lite breakdowns and chugging that infects that whole album for no reason at all. I feel like there’s supposed to be a sort of spiritual element to this record (at least with indications in the band name, opening track, and prelude), going through sort of new agey/faux-indian classical elements that are brought up on certain tracks and then dropped completely. However everything about this is so god damn produced, clean, and corporate that it makes them feel like a gimmick rather than giving the album any serious conceptual weight.

Again, this album is good, but I wouldn’t quite give it the recommended tag. There are plenty of other prog death albums that are this level of quality, and plenty more than have the same level of high value production, but also offer something more than what you would typically expect.


6.75/10

Thy Catafalque – Meta

I think this album demonstrates a difference between quirky and colorful. Colorful in my eyes is something that elicits imagination, creativity, and certain kind of lushness to the music. It feels like the band put their heart and soul into the record, and as a result creates an album filled with every color of the rainbow, in a truly unique and satisfying experience. Meta is just quirky. Sure it has some weirdness to it, with various electronic and orchestral oddness, but it the melodies are so ridiculously uninspiring that I can’t help but feel both bored and disappointed the whole way through. There are brief moments where I think the album hits (Mezolit for instance), but for the most part it feels like Thy Catafalque through a bunch of related shit together, strung it over the same few melodies, and hoped for the best. Not to mention the album is over an hour long, with a 21 minute track that feels exactly the same as the majority of the album.

Sure Meta has a lot of parts to it, but I would rather have an album with a few well crafted parts that go together, than an album that throws a bunch of different things together that come off as a bit random, and end up sounding the same anyway.


5/10

Evergrey – The Storm Within

I don’t know how these dudes managed to make an album this insipid and boring, but they should feel proud that they achieved it. This is like if Third Law era Muse made a metal album, but without anything theatrical/hilariously bad. This is ridiculously overproduced to the point of my disgust, added along to an unreasonable run time, with abso-fucking-lutely nothing happening the whole way. These kind of albums are why the term progressive metal has no real meaning anymore. It’s not a terrible album, but it’s insultingly boring and poppy.


3.25/10

Throes of Dawn – Our Voices Shall Remain

Absolutely gorgeous. Immensely melancholy, sad, soothing, and smooth. It’s like hearing your hands run through silk. I love all the little bit and pieces they put into each track to make them interesting, like the saxophone on One of Us Is Missing, or the piano throughout the album. It runs a bit long, and I feel like it has a little bit too much of a “putting you to sleep” vibe, but it’s lovely none the less. Very relaxing if anything else.


8.5/10

Eritherium – If You Feel It’s Presence

This is absolutely a masterpiece that never was. The album itself is just fantastic early Opeth worship, done better than Opeth themselves. It’s not a riff cereal, every song is constructed beautifully, the length isn’t overbearing because of how enjoyable every song is, the math rocky guitars are a superb add on, everything about this is absolutely wonderful and in most circumstances would be an AOTY contender. The problem is the production is an absolutely disaster that is hard to overlook. It’s just a simple matter of the equipment used to record this was utter trash, so everything is muddled and the music has 1/3rd of the impact it should have. Prog death like this NEEDS to be clean in order to work, and these guys simply weren’t able to deliver on that front. This could be a fucking amazing band if they just get good equipment, because that is actually all they need to be one of the top notch prog death bands around. They have all the tools to be great, except the ones needed to record the music.


7.75/10

https://eritherium.bandcamp.com/track/if-you-feel-its-presence

Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary

Inoffensive, over-hyped, completely generic. The melo death feels like it’s only there to get a tiny bit of an extreme metal audience, because otherwise the death growls do jack shit for this record. If you have heard any progressive metal album ever, you’ll know what to expect. It sounds like the cover and I don’t mean that in a good way.


4.25/10

Denominate – Those who Beheld the End

Some surprisingly really awesome techy Death Metal. The one thing I think it lacks is that extra bit of catchiness to the riffs. Nothing really tops Torments of Silence, and I feel like while the rest of the album is composed of some very decent material, it’s more like stuff that you listen to and acknowledge is decent, but nothing really sends any shivers down your spine. The tracks just don’t match that progressive edge that Torments has, leading the rest of the album to feel more like a strange kind of filler in the sense that the tracks sound similar and are just space holders for the main course. Very good, but not quite top tier.


7.75/10

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6ZE3o1dluE&feature=youtu.be

https://denominate.bandcamp.com/album/those-who-beheld-the-end