Quick Thoughts on Some Recent Purchases

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Sir Exar Kun
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Quick Thoughts on Some Recent Purchases

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Thu May 25, 2017 10:28 am

Since I was complaining about the lack of feedback on the new Ayreon, I figured it would be hypocritical if I didn't take some time to put together some thoughts on other recent stuff. So here goes!

Labyrinth "Architecture of a God" - With the addition of Oleg Smirnoff and John MacAluso, I had high expectations for this disc, and while it doesn't disappoint it also doesn't "WOW" me like I would have hoped. Everything on here is rock solid; great performances all around, the songs are generally pretty varied without staying in the same "speedy" mold as is wont to happen..... Yet, there isn't anything in particular that leaps out and separates this album from everything else post-RtHD either. It's Labyrinth, and definitely on the "better" side of the Labyrinth catalogue.

Vandroya "Beyond the Human Mind" - How's this for a ringing endorsement? I'm not entirely sure why I even ordered this one. I remember not being overly impressed with the first disc, yet I still couldn't resist clicking the "ADD TO CART" button for the second album. (I believe this is a warning sign of issues.....) Another album where there's nothing materially wrong or bad about it, but overall just doesn't resonate much with me. It has a few moments (there's a ballad that sounds like Trixter's "Surrender", and the chorus on the final track is pretty sweet) but overall the songwriting just isn't there.

Vanden Plas "Seraphic Liveworks" - As many (LARRY!) have lamented, it is truly a shame that we still don't have a FULL Vanden Plas show on DVD. This feels very much like a teaser, as it goes by SO quickly..... But the quality of the performance is just stunning. I even had my wife fully hooked into this one.

Also a couple oldies from Ken's clearance bin....

Kansas "Point of Know Return" - Filling a hole in the collection. Not necessarily as creative as some of the earlier albums, but it's got the title track and "Dust in the Wind" on it. I never noticed this before, but whoever composed the theme song to Beverly Hills 90210 must have been a Kansas fan, as it is a DEAD RINGER for the instrumental section of "Tempest" (?) on here.

Billy Joel (whatever the name of the Russian performance/DVD was) - I've had the single disc version of this for year's, and it's one of my very favorite Billy Joel albums as it's a perfect collection performed with great energy and passion. I loved seeing the full show on double disc, plus the DVD included. He's a freakin' lunatic on stage (as Christy said..... he's probably loaded on coke!) and is a steal at $10.

I think in hindsight it may well be that there just isn't anything really EXCITING breaking right now, hence the lack of passion on many of these threads. Maybe it's just me (this happens to all of us at one point or another) but it seems like a lot of the new releases I'm hearing are GOOD, but nothing in any way groundbreaking or special. It feels like there's a lot of paint-by-numbers material coming out right now. Or perhaps its just me.....
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Nos
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Re: Quick Thoughts on Some Recent Purchases

Postby Nos » Thu May 25, 2017 12:12 pm

Sir Exar Kun wrote:Labyrinth "Architecture of a God" - With the addition of Oleg Smirnoff and John MacAluso, I had high expectations for this disc, and while it doesn't disappoint it also doesn't "WOW" me like I would have hoped. Everything on here is rock solid; great performances all around, the songs are generally pretty varied without staying in the same "speedy" mold as is wont to happen..... Yet, there isn't anything in particular that leaps out and separates this album from everything else post-RtHD either. It's Labyrinth, and definitely on the "better" side of the Labyrinth catalogue.


I think that's about right. It was perfectly fine, but it was also nothing at all special.

I think in hindsight it may well be that there just isn't anything really EXCITING breaking right now, hence the lack of passion on many of these threads. Maybe it's just me (this happens to all of us at one point or another) but it seems like a lot of the new releases I'm hearing are GOOD, but nothing in any way groundbreaking or special. It feels like there's a lot of paint-by-numbers material coming out right now. Or perhaps its just me.....


In the styles of music that get talked about here, absolutely. Everything I've been listening to doesn't really fit the mold for here. I'll throw a few names out there anyway:

Harem Scarem - United (This is awesome melodic rock. It's got tons and tons of hooks, and nifty guitar playing too. A contender for my favorite of the year.)

The Ferrymen - S/T (Not out yet, but I've heard it, and it's really good. Not flat-out amazing, but really damn good.)

Creeper - Eternity, In Your Arms (Horror punk/theatrical rock, or whatever you want to call it. It's sort of Meat Loaf meets AFI, and it's awesome. Totally not for these parts, but it fits my style. The other contender for my favorite of the year.)

The Warning - XXI Century Blood (A Halestorm-style rock band, with the hook being that they are three teen/pre-teen sisters. They're damn good, too.)

Eclipse - Monumentum (Another great album, though I still prefer Erik's Nordic Union album from last year. Still, not a thing to gripe about here.)

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LASERCD
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Re: Quick Thoughts on Some Recent Purchases

Postby LASERCD » Thu May 25, 2017 1:10 pm

Sir Exar Kun wrote:
I think in hindsight it may well be that there just isn't anything really EXCITING breaking right now, hence the lack of passion on many of these threads. Maybe it's just me (this happens to all of us at one point or another) but it seems like a lot of the new releases I'm hearing are GOOD, but nothing in any way groundbreaking or special. It feels like there's a lot of paint-by-numbers material coming out right now. Or perhaps its just me.....


Here's some self promotion. I think the new Until Rain "Inure" is exciting and frankly I don't understand the lack of discussion about it. Perhaps there is too much music coming out too fast and everyone is developing musical ADD.

Give a listen:

https://lasersedge.bandcamp.com/album/inure

Tell me what you think.

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Re: Quick Thoughts on Some Recent Purchases

Postby LarryD » Thu May 25, 2017 6:04 pm

Labyrinth "Architecture of a God" - With the addition of Oleg Smirnoff and John MacAluso, I had high expectations for this disc, and while it doesn't disappoint it also doesn't "WOW" me like I would have hoped. Everything on here is rock solid; great performances all around, the songs are generally pretty varied without staying in the same "speedy" mold as is wont to happen..... Yet, there isn't anything in particular that leaps out and separates this album from everything else post-RtHD either. It's Labyrinth, and definitely on the "better" side of the Labyrinth catalogue.


***I'll agree totally with your assessment -- and then I'll go on to say that this is a band that I just don't listen to anymore. For this style, for me personally, I need the WOW factor as you said .... it can't just be rock solid anymore.



Vandroya "Beyond the Human Mind" - How's this for a ringing endorsement? I'm not entirely sure why I even ordered this one. I remember not being overly impressed with the first disc, yet I still couldn't resist clicking the "ADD TO CART" button for the second album. (I believe this is a warning sign of issues.....) Another album where there's nothing materially wrong or bad about it, but overall just doesn't resonate much with me. It has a few moments (there's a ballad that sounds like Trixter's "Surrender", and the chorus on the final track is pretty sweet) but overall the songwriting just isn't there.


***Somehow I know that I heard the previous one - and I don't remember a thing about it, much less remember the time period that I did it. Based on what you wrote, I would stay clear anyway........


Vanden Plas "Seraphic Liveworks" - As many (LARRY!) have lamented, it is truly a shame that we still don't have a FULL Vanden Plas show on DVD. This feels very much like a teaser, as it goes by SO quickly..... But the quality of the performance is just stunning. I even had my wife fully hooked into this one.


***There's a lot to be said about this release - good and bad. You hit on both of them so I won't continue the negative. If the quality of this thing was anything less than stellar, I think it would be come a rock at the vendors who sell it. Luckily, the quality is stellar - and it's standard DVD quality. It's incredible, as is the audio CD quality.
I've had talks about this release with several people recently - and we all scratch our head at why a band of this magnitude (and popularity), wait 6 years to release a short show like this one. It just baffles my mind.


Also a couple oldies from Ken's clearance bin....

Kansas "Point of Know Return" - Filling a hole in the collection. Not necessarily as creative as some of the earlier albums, but it's got the title track and "Dust in the Wind" on it. I never noticed this before, but whoever composed the theme song to Beverly Hills 90210 must have been a Kansas fan, as it is a DEAD RINGER for the instrumental section of "Tempest" (?) on here.


***Being a rabid, early Kansas fan - I have to say that this is one of my fav Kansas releases, and one of the proggiest as well. This is a stellar release, and has some of the best songs Kansas has ever released....... I saw this show played live back when the disc was released, and I was in complete awe.


Billy Joel (whatever the name of the Russian performance/DVD was) - I've had the single disc version of this for year's, and it's one of my very favorite Billy Joel albums as it's a perfect collection performed with great energy and passion. I loved seeing the full show on double disc, plus the DVD included. He's a freakin' lunatic on stage (as Christy said..... he's probably loaded on coke!) and is a steal at $10.


***Same here - I've had the original release since it came out back in the day - I'm passing on the show itself, as I'm loaded up with Billy Joel shows and discs....... great performer and one of the dudes I've missed seeing over the years for one reason or another.......


I think in hindsight it may well be that there just isn't anything really EXCITING breaking right now, hence the lack of passion on many of these threads. Maybe it's just me (this happens to all of us at one point or another) but it seems like a lot of the new releases I'm hearing are GOOD, but nothing in any way groundbreaking or special. It feels like there's a lot of paint-by-numbers material coming out right now. Or perhaps its just me.....



***No - it's not you ...... I'm sure most of us feel this way ........ I just have this need to yak about music all the time, whether it's stellar or just good ...... but as far as WOW discs go, it has been a slow year for sure. But we have started off slow before in years - and then out of nowhere the discs started pouring in and by the end of the year it was like deluge. So I'm going to hope that happens again ............

As I'm writing this - I just opened my Lasers Edge package to find the new Voyager and new Bjorn Reis in the mailbox....... maybe it's started. 8)

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Sir Exar Kun
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Re: Quick Thoughts on Some Recent Purchases

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Fri May 26, 2017 8:50 am

Here's some self promotion. I think the new Until Rain "Inure" is exciting and frankly I don't understand the lack of discussion about it. Perhaps there is too much music coming out too fast and everyone is developing musical ADD.

Give a listen:

https://lasersedge.bandcamp.com/album/inure

Tell me what you think.


I had enough time yesterday to listen to about a song and a half at work, but that was it. Definitely will be adding that to a future order. Reminded me of a heavier, darker Myrath in ways. I'm normally perfectly fine with growlie vocals, but I was surprised to hear them there.

Interested to hear more, for sure.
Capitalism: God's way of separating the smart from the poor. -Ron Swanson


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