Posts Tagged ‘Strings’

It is the dawn of a new era for Arch Enemy. The Melodeath vets are back with War Eternal, and introduce their third vocalist Alissa White-Gluz (ex-The Agonist) with it. This album is the ninth installment in the bands career all of which featuring a non-singing female lead vocalist. Alissa brings with her crisp growled vocals and an impressive 3 to 5 octave singing range, but only one of those makes an appearance.

'War Eternal' was released June 4th, 2014 via Century Media Genre: Melodic Death Metal

‘War Eternal’ was released June 4th, 2014 via Century Media
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Rather than dive right into the brutality, the album opens with the orchestral number Tempore Nihil Sanat. The track is short but serves as a “calm before the battle of the black water” moment. The mood is ominously serene and peacefully saunters up to an abrupt halt at the end of it’s one minute and twelve second stay. It is after this that the album actually kicks in much to every metal heads delight.

As if on cue the monstrous blast beats and Iron Maiden-esque harmonized guitars destroys the any serenity established with Never Forgive, Never Forget. From there on, and for much of the album, it is the quintessential metal-core/Melodeath brutality you’d expect from a Gluz fronted outfit. Few songs on this album present a chance for Gluz to actually to show the true duality her arrival had the potential to bring to Arch Enemy. When the chance presents itself, however, it is dutifully ignored. Case in point is the flying chorus of No More Regrets where one could easy imagine a powerful and soaring vocal line sung above the harmonized arpeggios.

The halfway point of the album strips it down to an instrumental in Graveyard of Dreams. This track is another strikingly beautiful instrumental that seems to have ended up as a stand alone track as opposed to appearing as a mere introduction. In fact it seems as if the only thing that prevents such a thing from happening is the lack of drums. If drummer Daniel Eriandsson had found himself on Graveyard, it could have easily been to the sub-three minute Stolen Life what the opening of You Will Know My Name was to that track.

Time is Black comes in with a catchy power riff following a dainty stripped down intro. From then on, it is business as usual until the album closer (in the Standard version of the album) Not Long For This World. This track is the third instrumental in the album and is the heaviest by far. Aside from a random sample of slowing heartbeats and a heart monitor that never flatlined, the track is a powerful close to a rather peculiar album.

Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz (ex-The Agonist) was announced as Arch Enemy’s new lead singer in March of 2014. She replaced the band’s former vocalist Angela Gossow who is now the band’s business manager.

Unfortunately the standard edition of the album features absolutely no cleanly sung vocals, much to the delight of death metal purists everywhere. This is a huge let down considering the melodic prescience Michael Amott (guitarist) worked into the album, and the vocal abilities their new lead singer possesses. The album itself, for all it’s wonderful orchestration, lacks a clear and consistent movement from start to finish. As opposed to flowing together effortlessly, riffs can tend to feel like they’re pandering to the obligatory metal brutality that must be present at all times…or else.

While the record doesn’t break any new ground, it is still a solid offering. Long time fans will undoubtedly be split on Alissa White-Gluz’s performance, but she holds her own as she has done for a while as the former front woman of The Agonist. Given the strong use of orchestration and the touches of neo-classical chord progressions, fans of Symphony X and Masterplan may have something to latch onto here. In any case those who enjoy modern Melodic Death Metal and/or the ever hated Metalcore will have enough to enjoy in War Eternal.

Album Picks: No More Regrets, On and On, Not Long For This World

Rating: 3.5

Thank you scientist cover

No. Thank you, Thank You Scientist. Thank you for doing what no other rock band seems to be doing right now. Be still, my beating heart… They have horns and strings. Lots of it. And they’re damn good at it.

For fans of The Mars Volta, Coheed and Cambria, Closure in Moscow, and Trioscapes.

Ellis Jasenovic on Saxophones
Andrew Digrius on Trumpet, Flugelhorn, and trombone
Russell Lynch on Violin, Viola, and Mandolin
Tom Monda on Guitars, Shamisen, and Cello
Greg Colacino on Bass
Odin Alvarez on drums, percussion, and fathering gods
Salvatore Marrano on vocals

Out of Rochelle Park, New Jersey, Thank You Scientist is incredibly interesting for many, many reasons. Their sound is entirely their own but takes on influences and sounds that are familiar to even the most sheltered of music listeners.

I have fallen in love with their second album “Maps of Non-Existent Places” which was recorded by Jesse Cannon at Cannon Found Soundation in Union City, New Jersey. Many great bands have recorded there like Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, Everytime I Die…
Mastered at West West Side Music and Released in April 2012. The album is very well done on all ends.

The Prelude to the album opens as an a cappella ‘tip of the hat’ to John Denver’s 1966 tune Leaving on a Jet Plane but these guys are a little more retro and decide to take the train, pfft… hipsters… It’s airy and a nice introduction to the first track A Salesman’s Guide to Nonexistence.

This track makes several seamless changes that is all just a part of their ultimate design as a band. The riff sounds remnant of early pop-punk but when the horns come in you’re suddenly listening to a Ska band, or so you think. The song continues as a really epic rock tune that hits several big sections. Odin Alvarez stays in the punk rock realm on drums most of the time but really only for this song.

The use of their instruments is far from overdone and they have tasteful lines to really emphasize the song structure. The dynamics of their songwriting allows for a lot of space which is really hard to come by for bands with such a large lineup.

Their most popular track is Feed the Horses (based on Spotify and plays). It’s a sexually charged progressive rock rant, instantly getting goosebumps from that first run of 30 seconds. Rhythmically complex and has a sound similar to that of Trioscapes, the mind-blowing jazz-metal side project of Between the Buried and Me’s Dan Briggs.

At 10 seconds it goes into a headbang worthy breakdown with horns blaring with dramatic flare. The song then transitions into a funky section almost unexpectedly from how the song begins. I’m especially impressed with the Salvatore Marrano’s distinction on this track.

It seems Marrano was channeling the late Michael Jackson when recording Feed the Horses. His voice goes really well with their funk parts and it suits their diverse sound. Overall he works well for the group but he tends to remind me of Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria – who I’m not particularly a fan of. At least he doesn’t have that damned beaver dam on his head… He really shines in their less “rock” sounding sections and actually has a great timbre when he’s not reminding me of a pop-rock singer. I try not to let a single instrument disrupt my enjoyment of music so it shouldn’t affect yours! I know for a fact many people will fall in love with the band because of the sound of his voice.

My favorite track on the album has to be the instrumental Suspicious Waveforms (love the name too). Not for the fact that there isn’t singing on it either, mind you. It’s a really fun jazz fusion song with many lines that make you want to get out your chair and shake dat ass.

The main line gets in your head so fast you’ll think you’ve heard it a thousand times but still want to hear it a thousand more. Every one of them has moments where they really stand up but they use periods of quiet transitions to prepare you for the brilliant solos. Russell Lynch’s violin solo in particular is astounding. The song goes through modern jazz, soul, funk, even a few brief moments of eastern folk. I can’t help but listen to it everytime I put on their album.

Support local music while getting full quality!
Buy from the band via their store on www.thankyouscientist.netBandcamp, Amazon, or iTunes!
But they are infact available for streaming on Spotify as well as on Bandcamp.

Why not check out their first release “The Perils of Time Travel”. A great album and shows some fantastic growth between the two records.

Catch these guys on tour right now with the Tea Club, another proggy outfit sounding more along the lines of a darker Dredg or Muse.

The shows are all listed on Thank you Scientist’s website on their tour page.

Here’s a clip of them playing their song My Famed Disappearing Act live at Mexicali in Teaneck NJ. The songs starts in classic Prog fashion with a nice technical guitar tapping riff. Enjoy and be sure to get this album!!!