Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

The Heart of the Prog/Power Movement

Moderators: TROY or maybe DEBBIE, Stevie WOnder, Digital Man

User avatar
LarryD
Site Admin
Posts: 6382
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:57 pm
Location: Rhode Island / USA

Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby LarryD » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:12 pm

I thought I would do this a little different this year ....... My Top 10 is complete - and it took me since the beginning of November to decide on it. There were too many awesome releases this year, and a few that came out near the end and edged their way into my heart. I had an inner battle with the #9 and #10 spot because there were 4 discs fighting it out, and in the end, I decided that certain discs need to be on that list because of how good they are, versus how much I might listen to them less than others, if that makes sense. I'll try to explain as I go. So the below list is NOT my top 10 list - I'll do a separate post for that, this list below are my disappointments for the year, and discs that swam just outside of my Top 10 circle..... I could never do a Top 50, but I could squeak out a Top 20 if I wasn't so lazy.......

Here are my most disappointing discs this year - and not because they were bad, per se. They just didn't do for me what I wanted them to.

Orphaned Land / Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs -
Call me crazy, but I never did latch onto this disc like I wanted to. I'm a huge fan, and this was one of the most anticipated discs of the year for me. Sadly, I didn't think it was near the greatness of OrWarrior. I shelved it fairly quick, and kept coming back to it to no avail. I didn't dislike it, but I didn't even want to go back to it after awhile..... I'm not sure what it was, lack of heaviness, lack of progginess, I can't say. It came off as very uninteresting to me, and nothing about it could capture my attention long enough to love it. It's not bad by any means, it's just not what I was hoping for.


Haken / Vector -
While everyone is enjoying each Haken as they come out, they seem to be pulling further and further away from me. Strangely, I was one of the few really pushing their live disc, L-1VE, which was incredible and I thought would drag me back into the fold. I at least went back to Affinity, which had songs on it that I loved, in the hopes that I would come back crawling around, but alas, I feel they are moving into a less melodic, more modern / prog rock / more colder version of their former selves. For comparison, Aquarius and Visions are masterpieces IMO. I should be putting the live disc into the Top 10, but other live discs just ousted it as you will read.... but as for Vector, it's magnificent in it's performance, but much too cold for me to keep coming back to. I'm sad that a Haken disc did not make my Top 10 list, again.


Kamelot / Shadow Theory -
I like the disc. It's not a disappointment to me disc wise.... but it is a disappointment that it did not make my Top 10 list, as I expect all Kamelot discs to. I think I'm in agreement with most who say that it's time for them to do something drastic...... this particular formula has worn on me as well, and I fought to the end to keep wanting them to stay this way, but they definitely need to change it up somehow to keep me on board. Even with Tommy singing, it's just not enough to say that it's a great disc, or that I want them to continue down this path.

So there are my only real disappointments .....mostly in the fact that they didn't make my top 10 list moreso than I just didn't like the disc at all.....


Now this next list, are discs that would be on my Top 20 list, if I had one .... or discs that kept to the outside of the greatness circle. In no particular order, I loved these discs, but not enough for a top 10 spot......

Manimal / Purgatorio -
I'm not a "basic" power metal fan.... I have my few bands that I go back to when i need the headbanging fix, and Manimal has found it's way into my headbanging for the sake of, list..... This is a fun band for me - no thinking, just full of excellent melodic riffs, and a great singer to boot. This is my favorite Manimal disc, and I really enjoyed their show at Prog Power. Sure, the singer needs a bit more power, and adding a second guitarist would give them that Brainstorm power that I crave from this band, but until a band gives a shit about what LarryD thinks they should be, I will just continue to enjoy them as long as they put out quality material like Purgatorio.

Distant Dream / Your Own Story -
Go read Glenn's Top 50 post for more on this band, but every now and then I need some instrumental music in my life, ( not that much ) and this style here does the trick for me perfectly. I think it's the dude in Widek if I'm not mistaken ? Another instrumental band I love by the way.... Distant Dream is less heavy, more melodic, and more dreamy / atmospheric than Widek. Perfect for me.

Brainstorm / Midnight Ghost -
I pretty much gave up on Brainstorm over the last few discs... I figured they were just going thru the motions, so was I in buying them all ......I thought it was time to stop. I wasn't even going to check out Midnight Storm, but they included a DVD concert, and I knew I would at least love that. I did. But then I checked out the music CD and was really surprised at how good this is. Their best since Soul Temptation I believe. Andy still has it, the production is better than the last few, and if I remember, there are only 2 speed burners here..... they are back in my good graces and I really like the disc enough to shoot it into a Top 20......

Subsignal / La Muerta -
Someone is reading this and saying - " Subsignal is not on his Top 10 list ?? Then WTF is ? " .... hehehehe ... and they would be right. Spoiler alert - most here don't put live discs in their Top 10, I do. :wink: I like this disc very much despite it's lightness, probably their lightest to date. But it's not enough to oust my others and make it onto the Top 10 list. A bit more heaviness and this would have been pushed up one spot to make the list. This disc fought with another disc here, to make the Top 10 spot, and neither did. It's been a long, hard battle.

Amorphis / Queen of Time -
I won't bore you with details of how Glenn got me into this band, but I'm a casual fan - and Skyforger is where I cut my teeth and still have the most fondness of.....however, I've got every disc since then, and Queen of Time (to me) is their best since Skyforger. Some say there are more growls on here, some say less, but I say there are more - and for me to put this on a Top 20 list with this much growling on it says a lot for the disc. When I need that aggression, and lately I do, this disc fills that need perfectly.

Hekz / Invicta -
Hearing Aid Man is going - " WTF is wrong with you ? You love this band !!!! " .... and I do. Despite what some people think about the vocals, I love them. This disc was the #10 spot fighting it out with Subsignal, but as I said, I include live discs in my Top 10, and they both got ousted by one...... Btw, when we talk productions in prog metal - someone should use this disc as a guide on how to record a prog metal disc properly. I think they have Karl Groom on board helping out, but this sounds better than most Threshold discs.

Seventh Wonder / Tiara -
Now that some of you have retrieved your laptops from the wall that you just threw it on, let me explain...... I like the disc a lot, I don't love it. It was on my Top 10 list, but I needed room for another disc, which you will read about on my Top list, and then you can roll your eyes. When it comes to Seventh Wonder, I need instant gratification. I don't want to get used to it, and understand it, and grow with it - those are times saved for bands like Pain of Salvation (er, older PoS), Orphaned Land, and bands like that.....Seventh Wonder starts off with greatness, backs off a little bit, and then picks it up again at the 2nd half of the disc. Did I expect more ? Yes....I enjoy it a lot, and Tommy sounds absolutely wonderful here..... maybe his best aside from Mercy Falls. There is a live disc that I love - it needed a spot on the list, I had to scrap this one from the #9 spot to make room for others..... which means that one disc pushed this disc out to the #11 or #12 spot in a Top 20 list..... when you see it on my list, then you can throw your laptop against the wall and call me crazy ...... :wink: :o


And that's it until the Top 10 list gets written up .....

User avatar
Sir Exar Kun
Posts: 2350
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 3:25 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:57 pm

Can't wait to read the top ten; I want to respond to this album by album, as I have thoughts on almost every single one, but would rather wait and see the rationale behind the top ten before certifying you for a loony bin.

You have three of my top five on the list here, so we're definitely going in different directions at the top of our lists.
Capitalism: God's way of separating the smart from the poor. -Ron Swanson

User avatar
Nos
Posts: 392
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:41 pm

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby Nos » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:09 pm

LarryD wrote:Haken / Vector -


I've never gotten the appeal of Haken. Something about them always comes off as if they're trying too hard, or they're playing something that isn't them. I don't care much for Leprous either, but they have a much more formulated identity. Haken is just sort of.... there, and they don't write good enough songs to overcome that.

Seventh Wonder / Tiara -


I was disappointed in it too. It would have been fine if it came out six years ago, but after having eight years between albums to cull their material into the best album they could, I was expecting more. I agree it isn't instantly memorable, which has stopped me from going back to listen to it again since it came out. "Alley Cat" was so infectious I listened to that album far more often, just because of the gravitational pull. There's nothing on this new album that has that effect on me. Still better than Kamelot, though.

User avatar
LarryD
Site Admin
Posts: 6382
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:57 pm
Location: Rhode Island / USA

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby LarryD » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:34 pm

Nos wrote:
LarryD wrote:Haken / Vector -


I've never gotten the appeal of Haken. Something about them always comes off as if they're trying too hard, or they're playing something that isn't them. I don't care much for Leprous either, but they have a much more formulated identity. Haken is just sort of.... there, and they don't write good enough songs to overcome that.


*** I don't want to get off the track here -- but let's face it, you are not a prog dude......very far from it, and Haken is about the definition of prog these days..... I disagree with you're assessment of them, they are about the most talented musicians alive today, and some would say give Dream Theater a run for their money or better......that's another debate.

I'm not going to tell you what to do to try and love Haken - but I will say this, if you don't like Visions, then you won't like Haken in general. I would also say that if you saw the Visions show at Prog Power, then you would know what Haken was all about.... but I'm not here to tell you why you should like Haken, but I am here to tell you that Haken are, if not the best, prog band on the planet.......talent wise. And this is coming from a guy who isn't fond of the new one at all .......

User avatar
LarryD
Site Admin
Posts: 6382
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:57 pm
Location: Rhode Island / USA

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby LarryD » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:36 pm

Sir Exar Kun wrote:Can't wait to read the top ten; I want to respond to this album by album, as I have thoughts on almost every single one, but would rather wait and see the rationale behind the top ten before certifying you for a loony bin.

You have three of my top five on the list here, so we're definitely going in different directions at the top of our lists.


*** Jay, I'm guessing that Seventh Wonder and Subsignal are you are referring to ....... but being the #11 and #12 spot on a Top 20 list isn't doing bad at all ...... there were just other discs that ousted those. I'm sure you will agree with "most" of my Top 10 list in the end ....... :wink:

User avatar
Guillaume
Posts: 824
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:31 am
Location: Quebec City, Canada

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby Guillaume » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:40 pm

LarryD wrote:
Manimal / Purgatorio -
I'm not a "basic" power metal fan.... I have my few bands that I go back to when i need the headbanging fix, and Manimal has found it's way into my headbanging for the sake of, list..... This is a fun band for me - no thinking, just full of excellent melodic riffs, and a great singer to boot. This is my favorite Manimal disc, and I really enjoyed their show at Prog Power. Sure, the singer needs a bit more power, and adding a second guitarist would give them that Brainstorm power that I crave from this band, but until a band gives a shit about what LarryD thinks they should be, I will just continue to enjoy them as long as they put out quality material like Purgatorio.


"The Manimal singer needs a bit more power??" :shock: :shock: :shock:

User avatar
LarryD
Site Admin
Posts: 6382
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:57 pm
Location: Rhode Island / USA

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby LarryD » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:47 pm

Guillaume wrote:
LarryD wrote:
Manimal / Purgatorio -
I'm not a "basic" power metal fan.... I have my few bands that I go back to when i need the headbanging fix, and Manimal has found it's way into my headbanging for the sake of, list..... This is a fun band for me - no thinking, just full of excellent melodic riffs, and a great singer to boot. This is my favorite Manimal disc, and I really enjoyed their show at Prog Power. Sure, the singer needs a bit more power, and adding a second guitarist would give them that Brainstorm power that I crave from this band, but until a band gives a shit about what LarryD thinks they should be, I will just continue to enjoy them as long as they put out quality material like Purgatorio.


"The Manimal singer needs a bit more power??" :shock: :shock: :shock:



*** He has the range, he needs just a bit more of the Halford / FRanck power boost ....... he is more like a Ray Alder style singer, but for Manimal, I'd like to hear a bit more aggression from him like the two singers I mentioned........

User avatar
Nos
Posts: 392
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:41 pm

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby Nos » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:50 pm

LarryD wrote:*** I don't want to get off the track here -- but let's face it, you are not a prog dude......very far from it, and Haken is about the definition of prog these days.....


I'm not a die-hard prog fan, no. Progginess is quite near the bottom of the list of attributes I care about, but it isn't a detriment either. I just prefer my prog to be less of the cold and clinical kind, and more of the warm and melodic kind. Transatlantic is one of my favorite bands, after all, and they're totally prog.

I disagree with you're assessment of them, they are about the most talented musicians alive today, and some would say give Dream Theater a run for their money or better...... but I am here to tell you that Haken are, if not the best, prog band on the planet.......talent wise.


Talent has nothing to do with what I was trying to say. Yeah, they can play the heck out of their instruments, but so can Yngwie, and his music sucks. What I'm saying is there's no one thing about their music I've yet heard that makes me say "THAT is Haken". Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Threshold, Seventh Wonder, Redemption, I can easily find it in all of them. Haken, not so much.

User avatar
LarryD
Site Admin
Posts: 6382
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:57 pm
Location: Rhode Island / USA

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby LarryD » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:29 pm

Talent has nothing to do with what I was trying to say. Yeah, they can play the heck out of their instruments, but so can Yngwie, and his music sucks. What I'm saying is there's no one thing about their music I've yet heard that makes me say "THAT is Haken". Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Threshold, Seventh Wonder, Redemption, I can easily find it in all of them. Haken, not so much.


*** Now I have to say it - AQUARIUS

User avatar
Sir Exar Kun
Posts: 2350
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 3:25 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:03 pm

Talent has nothing to do with what I was trying to say. Yeah, they can play the heck out of their instruments, but so can Yngwie, and his music sucks. What I'm saying is there's no one thing about their music I've yet heard that makes me say "THAT is Haken". Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Threshold, Seventh Wonder, Redemption, I can easily find it in all of them. Haken, not so much.



*** Now I have to say it - AQUARIUS


So.... Much....Wrongness.

So much.

I totally get where Haken doesn't appeal to everyone. Ross's vocals are unique, to say the least. They integrate all sorts of oddities and quirks within their music that can be jarring or distracting. The clinical approach to the music can certainly leave people cold.

But I agree with Larry 100% that there is not much debate that they can go toe-to-toe with Dream Theater on any stage.

"Aquarius" is everything I expect in Haken. It's a truly unique album, and straddles a line between prog rock and metal. "Visions" definitely was a safer, more traditional prog metal album that while technically brilliant in every way cut down on the sideshow antics compared to "Aquarius". "The Mountain", for my ears, went off the rails a bit and had too much light material in all the wrong places. It's not a bad album at all, but the high moments are somehow forgotten behind the low ones to me. "Affinity" fixed MOST of these issues (and includes my favorite Haken tune so far in "The Architect") but still proved that Haken can't write great slow songs.... Any time the album slows, it suffers. "Vector" focuses more on the heavier side, and still has moments of brilliance (A Cell Divides, Veil) but feels more like an EP than a full release somehow.

Comparing Transatlantic to Haken in any sense is very much apples to oranges. Transatlantic is Progressive (rock), Haken is progressive (metal). Note the capitalization. What Transatlantic does they do well, but it in no way is advancing anything in the genre. Haken is steadily pushing the boundaries with each album.

Oh, and Yngwie's music certainly DOESN'T suck. The man had numerous classic albums (with a strong contributing cast of musicians, mind you) that to this day hold up well. Now, what his ego has done to his recent output is a different story.....
Capitalism: God's way of separating the smart from the poor. -Ron Swanson

User avatar
Sir Exar Kun
Posts: 2350
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 3:25 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:05 pm

*** Jay, I'm guessing that Seventh Wonder and Subsignal are you are referring to ....... but being the #11 and #12 spot on a Top 20 list isn't doing bad at all ...... there were just other discs that ousted those. I'm sure you will agree with "most" of my Top 10 list in the end ....... :wink:


You are one for two in that assessment.

I suspect your 1-10 list and my 10-20 list will mirror each other very similarly.
Capitalism: God's way of separating the smart from the poor. -Ron Swanson

User avatar
Nos
Posts: 392
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:41 pm

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby Nos » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:16 pm

Sir Exar Kun wrote:But I agree with Larry 100% that there is not much debate that they can go toe-to-toe with Dream Theater on any stage.


Um... no one ever said they didn't have talent. How did this argument get started?

What Transatlantic does they do well, but it in no way is advancing anything in the genre. Haken is steadily pushing the boundaries with each album.


Opinions can differ. Nothing I've heard from Haken sounds new or unique to prog metal to me, not that there are many (any?) others who are actually doing so.

User avatar
LarryD
Site Admin
Posts: 6382
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:57 pm
Location: Rhode Island / USA

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby LarryD » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:54 pm

Um... no one ever said they didn't have talent. How did this argument get started?


*** I didn't mean to get into the talent debate, that was my fault and when you mentioned that all of those other bands you mentioned stand out on their own, but Haken didn't - I was only implying that Haken's talent alone, and the fact that they can go toe to with DT gives them their own sound if you will ..... Aquarius alone gave Haken their standout quality amongst giants alone, not to mention their follow up discs....


Opinions can differ. Nothing I've heard from Haken sounds new or unique to prog metal to me, not that there are many (any?) others who are actually doing so.


*** I also didn't mean to get into a "defending Haken" debate either, but once again, I bring up Aquarius as being unique in prog metal ....... but again, this is not a Haken debate per se, although I'm sure if we start a new post just on that alone, it will go on for some time ........ :wink:

User avatar
Chris R
Posts: 528
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:25 pm
Location: Tampa Bay

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby Chris R » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:45 pm

LarryD wrote:
Nos wrote:
LarryD wrote:Haken / Vector -


I've never gotten the appeal of Haken. Something about them always comes off as if they're trying too hard, or they're playing something that isn't them. I don't care much for Leprous either, but they have a much more formulated identity. Haken is just sort of.... there, and they don't write good enough songs to overcome that.


*** I don't want to get off the track here -- but let's face it, you are not a prog dude......very far from it, and Haken is about the definition of prog these days..... I disagree with you're assessment of them, they are about the most talented musicians alive today, and some would say give Dream Theater a run for their money or better......that's another debate.

I'm not going to tell you what to do to try and love Haken - but I will say this, if you don't like Visions, then you won't like Haken in general. I would also say that if you saw the Visions show at Prog Power, then you would know what Haken was all about.... but I'm not here to tell you why you should like Haken, but I am here to tell you that Haken are, if not the best, prog band on the planet.......talent wise. And this is coming from a guy who isn't fond of the new one at all .......

I just saw this thread and saw why you excluded a few things.
For some reason I had the same issue with getting Haken...and it was the jarring quirky parts that seemed to be thrown in for no reason.Then Affinity came out and they seemingly toned that part down and got more melodic(love 1985 and a lot of the 80s vibe,and yes I love Red Giant)
New one reminds me a little of Affinity but heavier.
So I went back and checked out Crystalized ,brilliant,the acapella over the new age ambient things in the middle is to me where this band really shows their creativity,then the needless dissonance right after....grrrr....luckily that where I fast forward .
Tarja is a female woman
Image

User avatar
Guillaume
Posts: 824
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:31 am
Location: Quebec City, Canada

Re: Discs that didn't make my Top 10 & Disappointments...

Postby Guillaume » Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:03 pm

LarryD wrote:
Manimal / Purgatorio -
I'm not a "basic" power metal fan.... I have my few bands that I go back to when i need the headbanging fix, and Manimal has found it's way into my headbanging for the sake of, list..... This is a fun band for me - no thinking, just full of excellent melodic riffs, and a great singer to boot. This is my favorite Manimal disc, and I really enjoyed their show at Prog Power. Sure, the singer needs a bit more power, and adding a second guitarist would give them that Brainstorm power that I crave from this band, but until a band gives a shit about what LarryD thinks they should be, I will just continue to enjoy them as long as they put out quality material like Purgatorio.

*****Killer disc, and they ruled live. But Samuel doesn't lack any power IMO!

Brainstorm / Midnight Ghost -
I pretty much gave up on Brainstorm over the last few discs... I figured they were just going thru the motions, so was I in buying them all ......I thought it was time to stop. I wasn't even going to check out Midnight Storm, but they included a DVD concert, and I knew I would at least love that. I did. But then I checked out the music CD and was really surprised at how good this is. Their best since Soul Temptation I believe. Andy still has it, the production is better than the last few, and if I remember, there are only 2 speed burners here..... they are back in my good graces and I really like the disc enough to shoot it into a Top 20......

**** Their best in a very long while for me. In my top 10.

Seventh Wonder / Tiara -
Now that some of you have retrieved your laptops from the wall that you just threw it on, let me explain...... I like the disc a lot, I don't love it. It was on my Top 10 list, but I needed room for another disc, which you will read about on my Top list, and then you can roll your eyes. When it comes to Seventh Wonder, I need instant gratification. I don't want to get used to it, and understand it, and grow with it - those are times saved for bands like Pain of Salvation (er, older PoS), Orphaned Land, and bands like that.....Seventh Wonder starts off with greatness, backs off a little bit, and then picks it up again at the 2nd half of the disc. Did I expect more ? Yes....I enjoy it a lot, and Tommy sounds absolutely wonderful here..... maybe his best aside from Mercy Falls. There is a live disc that I love - it needed a spot on the list, I had to scrap this one from the #9 spot to make room for others..... which means that one disc pushed this disc out to the #11 or #12 spot in a Top 20 list..... when you see it on my list, then you can throw your laptop against the wall and call me crazy ...... :wink: :o

**** My #3 in prog metal this year.


Return to “PM: Core”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests