Starting off the new year with Excalibur and Soul Doubt.....

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LarryD
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Starting off the new year with Excalibur and Soul Doubt.....

Postby LarryD » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:50 am

While I'm sure that the new year will start off with a bang when the new Kingcrow and Orphaned Land discs come out - but in the meantime, I had to grab something.....so I got these from The Lasers Edge:

EXCALIBUR / Dark Age of the Dragon -

I'm not sure I'd ever heard of this project before ..... this is the 4th disc in a series of theatrical rock operas by a French dude. I'd been wanting some theatrical music and hopefully this fits the bill. It seems to be sort of a theatrical blend of Celtic / New Age / Melodic Rock, and those of you who are familiar with this project can shed some more light on it. I think I heard one song, and it was cool.

https://www.lasercd.com/cd/excalibur-iv-dark-age-dragon



SOUL DOUBT / The Dance of Light and Shade -

Italian theatrical prog metal out of nowhere...... this comes highly recommended by those who are in the know, and I'm really looking forward to this one.....
Only heard a song or two but this is a 2-CD set so I'm not even going by what I heard. Looking forward to this one......

https://www.lasercd.com/cd/dance-light-and-shade-2cd


Meanwhile, back in Retro land, I took Riverside / Rapid Eye Movement with me to work yesterday. I was in complete bliss. I miss this band. What a disc.

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Sir Exar Kun
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Re: Starting off the new year with Excalibur and Soul Doubt.....

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:04 am

Looking forward to your feedback, as both of these caught my eye as well.
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Re: Starting off the new year with Excalibur and Soul Doubt.....

Postby LarryD » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:54 am

I'm on my phone so I can't type too much..... But ive been itching to talk anout these releases as well.....problem is, they are both deep listens,,especially the Soul Doubt, which is 2 CD....... Neither one of these discs is a,casual listen, and the tolerance is,really pushed when trying to absorb them..... I took them in the car as well to get more familiar with them as well....... Ill keep adding thoughts here as I go.......

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Re: Starting off the new year with Excalibur and Soul Doubt.....

Postby ToddS » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:54 pm

I checked Soul Doubt on Bandcamp and had a hard time sitting through it all in one listen. Though I did listen to the whole thing at least twice over the past 2 weeks. Usually broken up in a few sessions.

Some good stuff on there, but it’s really pretty light most of the time. Personally I wouldn’t even tag it metal. That’s just me. Some heavier bits here and there but It felt more like a rock opera/musical to me much of the time.

Could just take some extra time to click.

Now KIngcrow and OL I expect to jump right in on.
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Re: Starting off the new year with Excalibur and Soul Doubt.....

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:37 pm

Any verdict yet on either release? Excalibur seems like it will be a little light in the loafers, and maybe a bit TOO theatrical..... Soul Doubt I tried a couple songs, but neither really engaged me. However, it sounds like it should be right up my alley.
Capitalism: God's way of separating the smart from the poor. -Ron Swanson

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Re: Starting off the new year with Excalibur and Soul Doubt.....

Postby LarryD » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:36 pm

Sir Exar Kun wrote:Any verdict yet on either release? Excalibur seems like it will be a little light in the loafers, and maybe a bit TOO theatrical..... Soul Doubt I tried a couple songs, but neither really engaged me. However, it sounds like it should be right up my alley.


***Sorry Jay -- I lost track here ....... lots of music flying around which is awesome to start this new year out for us.

EXCALIBUR -

Let me start off by saying that I'm surprised that I haven't checked this guy out before. He's been putting out Excalibur discs since around 1999, and I'm baffled how I didn't even know about them, or just passed them by in the past, I'm not sure. He's a French dude, Alan Simon, and he writes and plays all this stuff. He is a lot like Arjen in that he hires all of these big names to be in his projects, and he goes to town. That's where the comparison stops. I've only checked out Excalibur IV, this new one, and I bought based off the samples I heard. Now, I can handle light in the loafers, being the Neo-Prog guy I am, but this is a bit different. It's more pop oriented, that kind of light. It's got some Celtic songs, some New Agey songs, and some symphonic rock songs - but he also has some big names on this disc, like Michael Sadler (Saga) who sounds awesome on his songs. He has John Heliwell (Supertramp) playing saxophone all over the disc, Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth), as well as others. I should be loving this - it's got everything I love about these symphonic rock operas in it, but I keep listening over and over and each time I feel that it's way too light, even for me.....Michael Sadler saves his parts of the disc as he sounds just incredible here, like he fits right into this music..... but somehow, being a rock opera, and coming off as a pop opera ( to my ears ), just doesn't meld quite right. Reading about this guy - I guess he has brought this project to stages around Europe over the years to incredible reception, and maybe it translates better on stage. I'm a concept / metal / rock / opera / chump around these parts, but this disc just doesn't manage to keep me enthralled the way I expected it to ......


SOUL DOUBT -

This is another tough one - but for different reasons. So, this Italian prog band decides to write a concept disc, a double concept disc at that ..... The art work on this thing is incredible. It's like a box - with great art, designs, etc ..... remember Mindflow / Mind Over Body when we first saw that disc and art ? It's that wow factor.... The production is first rate - everything about this disc screams greatness. Fair warning - if you go to their Bandcamp site and try to get a feel for this disc, it's very difficult to do. It's a concept - it's all over the place - and moving around the songs just doesn't do this justice. I read in the reviews that it's a prog metal disc. I debate that as there are parts of prog metal all over this disc - but, there are tons of soft / atmospheric passages in between, and one of my big bones of contention is that once they open up and let loose on the prog metal, they suddenly stop mid-song and bring it back down to the softer side. There are other bands who do this in the past, and I can't remember who at the moment but it's agitating. This band is super talented, but it's clear that their intent is to tell a story - and most of the disc is vocally driven. Meaning, lots of vocals with just background guitars, or keyboards only. Lots of singing here. Then they blast into a juicy prog metal passage and suddenly pull it out from under your feet quickly. Happens often on the disc. My only other problem - and it shouldn't be - is the singer.... he is excellent but has a thick Italian accent, and there is so much singing on this disc, it does start to take it's toll on me after awhile. I feel that 2 discs of all of this is way too much - and this would have been better served being on one single disc..... this is not an easy listen, you have to sit down with this and take the time to feel this out. It's long, and it's tough to find the time to sit down and just play it all through and try to absorb it. Could be laziness, could be me just finding fault with an otherwise excellent showing, but I do need to sit with this more when I can and feel it out. Moving around the songs just doesn't work here. Hope this gives you some insight on this disc.....

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Re: Starting off the new year with Excalibur and Soul Doubt.....

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:27 am

Excellent feedback, and somehow that was sort of what I expected with both discs.....

Soul Doubt sounds like a perfect "filler" disc for a future order, and Excalibur is getting crossed off the list. Thanks!
Capitalism: God's way of separating the smart from the poor. -Ron Swanson


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