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  #11  
Old 07-22-2014, 09:14 PM
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Darkest Hour- Darkest Hour

http://thatdrummerguy.weebly.com/rev...r-darkest-hour

Darkest Hour has been one the underground Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore bands that most recognition for 2005's Undoing Ruin and 2007's Deliver Us (both produced by Devin Townsend by the way). The band has been going strong since 1995, and they are continuing on with their 8th album, their self titled album, Darkest Hour. This is their first album for Sumerian Records and the first to feature bassist Aaron Deal and drummer Travis Orbin. it is safe to say with this album that they are hitting some new genre territories they have yet to explore.

The album starts with the song, Wasteland. It already starts off heavier than most of their past material for their use of downtuning and 7 strings which makes it's first appearance strongly in the band's history. The song has that heavy chug sound (some call it Djent) but the song carries itself in the way any Darkest Hour song would. Strong clean choruses, fast riffing and fantastic soloing. Next is the shortest song on the album, Rapture in Exhile, which just blows you away from the second it starts. Fast, thrashy, and HEAVY! The Misery We Make comes up next and oddly enough, it does sound very commercial. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely is a song that could fit well on Top 40 Hard Rock Radio (IF they are ok with clean vocals with an occasional scream for emphasis. If All That Remains, In Flames, and Demon Hunter can be, Darkest Hour sure can as well. Up next is Infinite Eyes. It starts off with a very grand sounding guitar riff before going into some nice Melodeath riffing. The solo on this one is one of the finest solos on the album. The whole song has a nice faster midpace feel to it, a nice driving sound that Darkest Hour always seems to achieve with ease. Futurist follows up and oddly enough it is another song that could easily fit in Top 40 Hard Rock Radio. Very minimal use of screams and focuses on a style of poppier clean vocals that isn't normally heard in the band. The Great Oppressor comes in charging and heavy. It features on of the best choruses in the album. It's quite reminiscent of the faster songs of In Flames. Anti-Axis is next and again it features a downtuned chug throughout. Djent fans would really appreciate this one. The chorus is quite catchy. Unlike most Darkest Hour songs, instead of a solo there is a Breakdown section that may catch people by surprise. It's not until the last few seconds of the song where you hear a guitar lead, so that can count as a solo. The album takes a mellow, but very tom heavy approach in the next song, By The Starlight. The song features DRĈMINGS on background and shared main vocals. Toward the middle of the song it picks up a bit with distortion and double bass, but ends with a very ethereal vibe. Lost For Life pummels it's way next and it is a killer thrashy song that is relentless. Short, thrashy, and sweet. The Goddess Figure comes up next and is a nice midtempo number to start off with then gets fast and thrashy. It also features one of the best choruses on the album. Beneath The Blackening Sky is classic Darkest Hour. Much like a song that would fit in Undoing Run or Deliver Us. Hypatia Rising starts off with a nice acoustic riff with the heaviness in the background in a cool Classic Metal vibe. When the song fully kicks in, again, it is classic Darkest Hour. A great blend of Melodeath and Metalcore. The final track is Departure. It starts off with and orchestral section then leads into clean vocals and riffs that match well with the more poppy songs on the album. This, once more, can fit quite well on Top 40 Hard Rock radio, but as a 2nd or 3rd single, after the band gets more established to that audience. The orchestral parts continue on through most of the rest of the song as does the clean vocals being the main choice for style. The song ends much as it began as the orchestra fades away.

As mentioned before, Darkest Hour hits some new territory on this album, and if marketed right, this very well could launch them on mainstream radio. This may discourage some fans, and may encourage even more. Overall, Darkest Hour put out another solid album and only time will tell as to where this could lead them in the future.

- 3.5/5

Darkest Hour- Darkest Hour Available August 5th via Sumerian Records
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  #12  
Old 07-23-2014, 10:04 PM
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Dragonforce- Maximum Overload

http://thatdrummerguy.weebly.com/rev...ximum-overload

Dragonforce is the definition of a "Love 'em or Hate 'em" band. A lot of people write them off as "that band who had a hard song on Guitar Hero" while others see them as Power Metal legends. Regardless of opinion, there is no denying Dragonforce's technical abilities. With the band's sixth album, Maximum Overload, the band starts to get a lot more diverse musically and it just may prove to be the step in the right direction.

The right of the gate, Dragonforce takes everyone by surprise with The Game, a dangerously heavily song that features more downtuned guitars and backup vocals by Matt Heafy of Trivium. The essence of Dragonforce's sound is still there. Ridiculously fast and heavy and let's face it, no matter what Dragonforce writes, it will always be cheesy (which is in no way a bad thing, Power Metal is full of cheese). Roughly half way into the song, the band goes back to their signature sound for a bit (what some call the SO FAR AWAAAAY riffs) before going back and saying heavy through the rest of the track. Next we go into Tomorrow's King, which starts off very very strange with weird synth sounds and soundclips before going into the Dragonforce Power Metal sound. This song really harkens back to the first two albums like Valley of The Damned and Sonic Firestorm. No More is next. It starts off a bit slower than the previous two songs, but still at hyper speed. This has more of a Thrash Metal feeling musically while the Power Metal vocals and synths are still there. After the guitar solos, it gets insanely brutal for a few seconds before breaking down then getting back to the Power Metal. A very nice touch. Three Hammers actually starts off as a quite slow and mellow song. Much like a song of marching off to war. When it reaches roughly the halfway point we go back into hyper drive. The song ends back with the marching riff to close out the song. Symphony Of The Night leads you into a false sense of security with an acoustic intro, then BAM! Extra awesome Power Metal goodness. Towards the middle it has a very nice symphonic sound much like Yngwie Malmsteen does in a lot of his symphonic songs. The song closes out in true Dragonforce style. The Sun Is Dead starts off a bit midtempo (for a Dragonforce song anyways) and stay that way pretty much throughout. The solos in this one stand out quite a bit. not just over the top technical, but very melodic and fit the song perfectly. Defenders comes up next and just attacks right out of the gate. While not the fastest song on the album, it is definitely one of the more standout tracks. The chorus is very grandeous and again has the SO FAR AWAAAAY riffing after the second chorus. The song itself has much of the vibe of The Game, definitely not a bad thing. Extraction Zone is by far the heaviest opening riff on the album. Right from the start it has a awesome blastbeat section. The song continues on being fast and heavy. In the middle of the track it takes a very strange turn with a bit of electronic drums and a slowed down section of some light guitar soloing, before going back into Dragonforce's signature tone. City Of Gold is the last original song on the album. It again brings back memories of the first two albums. The ending of the song is a great, epic way to end original material. As a special bonus, the standard edition of the album closes with a cover of Johnny Cash's Ring Of Fire. It is by far the fastest Power Metal cover of Ring Of Fire that has been recorded in the mainstream. It's a bit hard to take seriously, but it is actually very well done. Either absolutely needed or absolutely not needed (depending on how you look at things) There is some extra long, over the top technical solos, but would you really expect anything less? As great as City of Gold would have been as the real closer, Ring Of Fire is a fun way to close out Maximum Overload.

While Dragonforce isn't really breaking down new barriers this time around, they did a magnificent job of not repeating themselves over and over again, as many non-fans seem to say. the album, while not as some bands do, is diverse enough for waht needs to be done. Dragonforce is a cheesy Power Metal band that knows how to write great songs and have fun, and isn't the point of an album to enjoy what you hear? If you never gave Dragonforce an actual chance before, give Maximum Overload a shot, it's worth at least a try.

- 3.5/5

Dragonforce- Maximum Overload available (SO FAR AWAAAAY) August 19th via Metal Blade Records
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  #13  
Old 07-24-2014, 04:49 AM
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I'm very worried about this album, though your review definitely gave it a positive light. Sadly, I didn't get a promo for it, so I'll have to wait until it comes out, but what I've heard is a bit troubling. The Game is a good song, but it does some weird stuff for Dragonforce. Defenders is fantastic. The Johnny Cash cover was pretty bad, mainly because of the vocal lines in the chorus. I also heard Three Hammers and didn't really enjoy it that much either.
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  #14  
Old 07-24-2014, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Spiner202 View Post
I'm very worried about this album, though your review definitely gave it a positive light. Sadly, I didn't get a promo for it, so I'll have to wait until it comes out, but what I've heard is a bit troubling. The Game is a good song, but it does some weird stuff for Dragonforce. Defenders is fantastic. The Johnny Cash cover was pretty bad, mainly because of the vocal lines in the chorus. I also heard Three Hammers and didn't really enjoy it that much either.
The only two songs you didn't like is a cover and one of the slower songs on the album, you'll be fine
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  #15  
Old 07-24-2014, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MPF View Post
slower songs
Quote:
Dragonforce
Quote:
slower songs
Quote:
Dragonforce
See the problem here? :P
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  #16  
Old 07-24-2014, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Spiner202 View Post
See the problem here? :P
The fast songs make up for the slow songs.
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  #17  
Old 07-24-2014, 08:32 PM
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Panopticon- Roads To The North

http://thatdrummerguy.weebly.com/rev...s-to-the-north

Panopticon plays a style of Metal that sounds so strange at the sound of the genre infusing, but makes total sense. They are a mix between Atmospheric Black Metal and American Bluegrass. Hopefully with something like that, it makes you jump up and go "WOAH, I GOTTA CHECK THAT OUT!" Their last album, Kentucky, was raised to major acclaim. Could Panopticon possibly be able to do this again with their new album, Roads To The North?

The album starts with the 9:36 song, The Echos Of A Disharmonic Evensong. it starts off quite strange befor a longer drum fill leading into the whole band joining in. From this point onwards it shows the great mix of Atmospheric Black Metal with the folkish, Bluegrass tinge in the background. When the vocals arent in motion the Bluegrass takes over with the Black Metal for a great atmospheric sound that fans of either genre could really appreciate. The middle of the song breaks down acoustically before gaining back the speed and Metal to help close out the song. Up next is the longest song on the album, Where Mountains Pierce The Sky. The song starts off with a great Folk/Bluegrass feel that really makes you feel like you are on the countryside just as it hits sundown. This does not last when the band finally kicks in at the 1:26 mark. Instead of kicking into full on Black Metal mode, it stays very midtempo and somewhat matches the Bluegrass in the beginning of the song. at the 3:36 mark it hits one of the most beautiful metal moments on the album where all the harmonies and melodies hit together and create a very surreal moment. Throughout the rest of the song it keeps up a faster tempo and adds a good atmospheric feel. At the very end of the song it leads into an acoustic guitar/fiddle riff that leads into the next song. That next song is called The Long Road, which is separated into three tracks, The Long Road I. One Last Fire is a campfire style song that focuses on the bluegrass instruments (Fiddle, Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, etc). This instrumental makes up the entire track that leads into The Long Road II. Capricious Miles, which starts with a ferocious drum intro and leads into one of the best riffs in the album. The track goes through many different variances in tempo and instrumentation. In the middle of the track, it gets quite ethereal. It almost feels like a section right out of Opeth's album, Damnation. This also continues until almost right near the end where the blast beats come back and lead onto the final tack of the song, The Long Road III. The Sigh Of Summer. This starts off very Post Rockish and ethereal. At the 3:00 mark it picks back up somewhat with the Black Metal feel, but still continues on the ethereal Post Rock in the background. A little over the half way mark it gets a bit into a early day In Flames type riff before unleashing a fantastic guitar solo filled with killer double bass and leading back into an incredible Black Metal/Bluegrass riff. The song ends with a tribal background with some marching soundclips to close things out. Norwegian Nights is the next song and it is a 3 minute killer Bluegrass song that oddly enough has some clean vocals. Very acoustic paced and a nice break from Metal. From out of nowhere, In Silence comes and is easily the heaviest opening on the entire album. It almost feels likes like a Brutal death Metal riff with atmospheric guitars and fiddle outlays. After the brutality, it goes into somewhat of a Post Rock feel again with Black Metal screams. This leads back into a rollercoaster of dynamics between Post Rock and Black Metal throughout the rest of the song. Near the end of the song it goes a bit lo-fi on the drums while the Bluegrass section takes over again before one final blast of brutality to close things out. The final tack on this album is Chase The Grain, which arguably may be the finest song from Panopticon to date. While the Metal section is doing a killer Atmospheric Black Metal riff, the Bluegrass section is over top doing amazing leads and adding real emotion that tugs at you. The entire song has this great feeling of epic emotions that can make you close your eyes, slowly raise your fist and nod your head slowly. at the 3:07 mark it breaks down into an acoustic passage. It kicks back into Black Metal mode shortly after, but in a nice left turn, things get very symphonic with a dark and eerie sound that leads into a sinister Symphonic Black Metal segment. Right before the end of the album things get back into a nearly normal state where it plays somewhat of a reprise of the first riff of the song before closing off with an acoustic guitar that fades away to finish of Roads To The North.

Roads To The North, much like it's predecessor, Kentucky, is a spellbinding album. It's enchanting and hypnotizing. If you give it a real shot, the mixture of Black Metal and Folk and Bluegrass is something that hasn't really been captured before in a memorable way. This could be the breakthrough album for Panopticon that could lead them into possible Deafheaven territory, where taking Black Metal into a new light can get some real recognition. This is not an album to miss out on, be sure to pick this up and enjoy every second of it!


- 4.5/5

Panopticon- Roads To The North available August 1st via Bindrune Recordings and Nordvis
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  #18  
Old 07-25-2014, 12:47 PM
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I love em some Panopticon
Have you heard their album "Social Disservices" ? The drumming on that is FUCKING GREAT! Doesn't have the bluegrass that Austin started on Kentucky.
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  #19  
Old 07-25-2014, 01:08 PM
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Can't wait for the new DF album, I know it's gonna be awesome! The Game is definitely one of the best songs they've written IMO, right up there with Where Dragons Rule and My Spirit Will Go On.
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  #20  
Old 07-27-2014, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by John The Drummer View Post
I love em some Panopticon
Have you heard their album "Social Disservices" ? The drumming on that is FUCKING GREAT! Doesn't have the bluegrass that Austin started on Kentucky.
I haven't yet. I look all over for it but can't find it anywhere.

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Can't wait for the new DF album, I know it's gonna be awesome! The Game is definitely one of the best songs they've written IMO, right up there with Where Dragons Rule and My Spirit Will Go On.

Its a great, fun album for sure.
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